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No More Masks At Boston Art Museums

The front doors of the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Seaport. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The front doors of the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Seaport. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

After 16 months bereft of facial expressions, the Institute of Contemporary Art's director Jill Medvedow looks forward to seeing visitors' smiles again inside her museum's galleries. “The combination of art and people is powerful,” she said.

Medvedow and leaders from the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museums have been coordinating throughout the pandemic to provide consistent messaging to their visitors.

"I think it's really important for us to be able to clearly communicate with our different and diverse publics what they can expect," Medvedow explained.

In accordance with guidelines from the CDC, Massachusetts and Boston the three museums are lifting mask requirements for vaccinated people, along with social distancing.

“This is so exciting,” Medvedow said of the milestone moment, “the fact that we can now, once again, fully share the pleasures and the sense of community that we offer, that we love, that we've missed so very much.”

Each institution has its own exhibitions schedules and unique footprints to manage, so they'll adopt their own approaches to increasing capacities over time in their galleries. Here's some of what you can expect when you go.

The Institute of Contemporary Art

Beginning May 29 the ICA, along with the Gardner and MFA, will require anyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear a face covering at all times inside the museum. Vaccinated visitors, along with staff and contractors, can go mask free. Advanced, timed tickets are strongly recommended as the ICA moves back to normalcy, but director Jill Medvedow said people can now walk up and purchase a timed ticket if there's availability/space. Live outdoor performances will resume in July. Indoor performances return in the fall.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Timed tickets are still required. The Gardner Museum will not immediately return to full capacity, but plans to gradually increase its numbers in the coming weeks and months. Like the ICA, the museum will no longer require social distancing. Live indoor concerts resume in the fall.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The MFA will increase gallery capacities throughout June. Starting in July, visitors will only need to reserve timed-entry tickets in advance for “Monet and Boston: Legacy Illuminated” and “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation.”

Andrea Shea Twitter Senior Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.

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