The Milwaukee Art Museum announced that it will reopen to the public on July 16, with free admission for all visitors for one month. Museum Members will have the opportunity to visit beginning one week earlier, on July 9.
Thanks to a gift from the Krei Family in Memory of Melinda, Museum admission will be free through August 16 to welcome back the community, especially first responders and essential workers. The Museum is also modifying its hours, including opening a half hour earlier, which will be reserved for high-risk visitors.
“The Milwaukee Art Museum has been an institution that our family has greatly enjoyed over the years. Melinda’s love of the facility, the programs, and the staff made the Museum a special place for her and our family,” said Ken Krei. “My son, Andrew, and I are especially proud to provide support at a time when the reopening can be an important part of Milwaukee’s emergence from the effects of the pandemic.”
This is the first step in a phased reopening of the Museum to the public, and includes new protocols to support a healthy and safe environment for visitors and staff. The Museum has implemented robust cleaning procedures and installed hand sanitizing stations at entrance points and in the galleries. Staff and visitors are required to wear a face covering at all times, and signs and decals are strategically placed throughout the Museum to help promote safe social distancing.
The Museum now also has timed ticketing, to further ensure safe social distancing. Visitors will be able to reserve their tickets up to two weeks in advance on the Museum’s website, at mam.org/visit, and agree to observe a set of basic guidelines, such as staying at home if they feel ill.
Guests will enter through Windhover Hall and proceed through the Collection Galleries along a dedicated pathway that encourages social distancing. Paintings from the American collection and a selection of masterworks from the Bradley Collection from the second floor are being moved to broaden the experience for visitors, with only the first floor open during this phase. Also being placed on view are newly acquired photographs.
“Our valiant staff has been busy preparing for the reopening of the Museum, and we are all eager to welcome visitors back inside our galleries,” said Marcelle Polednik, PhD, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director, Milwaukee Art Museum. “The Krei family has made our reopening all the more special, and meaningful, with a gift, in memory of Melinda, that allows everyone to visit for free during the first month. Melinda was one of the Museum’s greatest advocates, and her legacy is sharing the comfort and inspiration she found here with the community during this challenging time.”
Thanks to Donna and Donald Baumgartner and Joel and Caran Quadracci and the Windhover Foundation, the Museum has been making renovations throughout the Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion. Completed projects include the refinishing of the marble floors in Windhover Hall and the wood floors in the Baker/Rowland Galleries. Scheduled for completion by the reopening date is the repair of one of the hydraulic cylinders that helps operate the Museum’s Burke Brise Soleil (“wings”).
The Museum created an internal task force to establish protocols that were required to be in place before staff and visitors could begin returning to campus. The task force continues to closely monitor guidelines and recommendations from local, national and global health organizations. The Museum hosted a test period June 25-28 to analyze the new visitor experience, survey participants and make adjustments before the official reopening.
Staff deemed necessary to work on-site began returning to the Museum’s campus in mid-June. A large proportion of employees will continue working from home. The Museum originally closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 15, 2020.
Matt Haas / Milwaukee Art Museum