The Cape Ann Museum is preparing to re-open its main campus at 27 Pleasant Street to the public on Oct. 1 with new safety precautions for social distancing, reduced capacity, touch-less doors, increased cleaning, and other measures that adhere to Gov. Baker’s Phase 3 re-opening plan and to protect the public while enjoying the museum’s renowned art and maritime collections.
Museum members were able to return to the Pleasant Street campus last week, on Sept. 24, and the Museum’s new Cape Ann Museum Green off Grant Circle had opened to the public on Sept. 17 including the contemporary archival collections storage and public exhibition space, the Janet & William Ellery James Center.
At the new Cape Ann Museum Green, visitors can see images from The Porch-Rait Project, photographs of Gloucester families taken early in the COVID 19 pandemic as a benefit to The Open Door.
“We are overjoyed to announce that we can re-open with the necessary precautions required by the state,” said Museum Director Oliver Barker. “As the global pandemic hit in March, we closed our doors to protect the staff and public. Since then, I think we have all been feeling the need to return to a place of inspiration, to see art that reminds us of the beautiful places in which we live, and to feel a sense of normalcy again by visiting the Museum and our new Cape Ann Museum Green campus.”
When visitors return to Pleasant Street on Oct. 1, they will see a newly re-installed and updated Lane Gallery, showcasing the work of marine artist Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865). There are three special exhibitions: Tom and T.M. Nicholas: A Father and Son’s Journey in Paint, which has been extended through November 1; Odds Were Against Me, featuring works by 20th century sculptors, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington and Katharine Lane Weems, on view through January 3, 2021; and Our Souls are by Nature Equal to Yours, an exhibit exploring the life of early feminist writer Judith Sargent Murray, on view through November 8.
Because of safety precautions, the museum has taken measures, including opening with limited opening hours from Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow for ample cleaning. The time slot of 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. will be reserved for high risk populations to visit.
The museum will only allow seven percent occupancy in the galleries. There will be no public access to the Auditorium, Activity Center, or Davis House until further notice. As a result, all visitors will need to make a reservation to ensure limited capacity.
The library and archives remain closed due to ventilation issues, but access to the entire collection can be found online. Visitors are required to wear masks throughout their time in the Museum. (Anyone without a mask will be offered one upon entry.) Social distancing in the galleries and throughout the Museum will be enforced by staff and security guards. Limited docent tours will be offered. Increased cleaning will happen during the Museum’s off-hours. Main entrance and bathroom doors have been redesigned to open automatically for touch free access.
The Cape Ann Museum has been in existence since the 1870s, working to preserve and celebrate the history and culture of the area and to keep it relevant to today’s audiences. Spanning 44,000 square feet, the Museum is one of the major cultural institutions on Boston’s North Shore welcoming more than 25,000 local, national and international visitors each year to its exhibitions and programs. In addition to fine art, the Museum’s collections include decorative art, textiles, artifacts from the maritime and granite industries, three historic homes, a Library & Archives and a sculpture park in the heart of downtown Gloucester. In June 2021, the Museum will officially open the 12,000 square foot Janet & William Ellery James Center at the Cape Ann Museum Green. The campus also includes three historic buildings – the White Ellery House (1710), an adjacent Barn (c. 1740), and the recently acquired Babson-Alling House (c.1740), all located on the site at the intersection of Washington and Poplar Streets in Gloucester.