Months after it closed, the New-York Historical Society announced it will begin reopening Aug. 14 — pending approval from the state and city.
On Wednesday, the museum revealed a multi-stage plan to open its doors, with a free outdoor exhibition titled “Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine” set to kick off the schedule in August. The institution designated Sept. 11 as its date for reopening its indoor installations.
“We are eager to welcome visitors back to the New-York Historical Society,” Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, said. “While so much has changed over the past several months, our mission of ‘Making History Matter’ remains vital, now more than ever before.”
Comprising more than 50 photographs captured by Kay Hickman (who also curated the show alongside writer Kevin Powell), “Hope Wanted” centers on the experiences of New Yorkers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition will also feature 12 audio interviews with the subjects of the photographs, recorded by Powell April 8 and 9.
“Hickman’s empathetic photographs of people and their neighborhoods in all five boroughs and Powell’s searching interviews of New Yorkers impacted by the crisis capture both tragedy and remarkable resilience at a moment in time during the pandemic,” the museum said in a statement.
The installation will be displayed outside in the museum’s open-air courtyard, with safety precautions put into place. Masks will be required for entry and social distancing, enforced through timed tickets, will be required.
The museum, which has been closed since March 13, stated it will reveal plans for indoor protocols and safety measures at a future date. In the meantime, the institution will continue to collect objects related to the COVID-19 crisis and Black Lives Matter protests as part of its “History Responds” initiative — a program that gathers materials from contemporary events in real-time.
New-York Historical Society’s announcement comes as the city wades into Phase 2 of the state’s four-phase reopening plan, which gradually lifts restrictions placed during the pandemic. In a press briefing Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that New York City is “on track” to enter Phase 3 on July 6, which will allow for gatherings of up to 25 people. If all goes as planned, museums and historical sites will be allowed to start opening July 20, when the city embarks on Phase 4.
With this timeline in mind, on Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Metropolitan Museum of Art will open its doors to visitors Aug. 29.
“The safety of our staff and visitors remains our greatest concern,” Daniel H. Weiss, president of the Met, said in a statement. “We are eagerly awaiting our reopening as, perhaps now more than ever, the Museum can serve as a reminder of the power of the human spirit and the capacity of art to bring comfort, inspire resilience, and help us better understand each other and the world around us.”
When the museum reopens, it will do so without the Met Breuer, an outpost for the organization’s modern and contemporary art. The Madison Avenue institution — former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art — will be taken over by the Frick Collection, sealing a deal put into motion in 2018.