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November 18, 2020

Five Museums in Philly announce 6-week closure amid pandemic surge

Each museum commits 'to temporarily close to the public in support of Philadelphia's effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic'

Museum COVID-19
060320_ArtMuseum_RockySteps.original.jpg Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Five Philadelphia museums and cultural institutions will close for the rest of the year, in line with recent COVID-19 restrictions.

Five museums across Philadelphia will close their doors for the rest of the year due to the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases and the resulting city-wide restrictions announced earlier this week. 

Those museums are the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, according to a press release. 

This announcement comes days after Philadelphia released sweeping restrictions across the city that ban indoor dining and gathering between members of separate households. Those restrictions also limit retail spaces to 5 people per 1,000 square feet, including staff and customers. 

The State Department of Health also imposed a stricter mask-wearing mandate and now requires those traveling into Pennsylvania to provide a negative COVID-19 test result no older than three days before entry, or the traveler must quarantine for 14 days.

Each museum commits "to temporarily close to the public in support of Philadelphia's broad-based, stepped-up effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic."

The museums said that they expect to reopen their doors early into the new year, though a specific date is to be announced in the coming weeks. The press release also stated that each institution will work alongside elected officials and health authorities when structuring their respective reopening plans.

In a joint statement, the leadership teams of each museum said that while they are closing their doors now, they believe each of their cultural institutions will play an important role in the recovery process. 

They also encourage the community to find different ways to support them amid the pandemic-caused closures.

"It is extremely discouraging to close our doors at a moment when, during a normal year, we would be preparing to welcome even more visitors for the holiday season. We understand that it is vitally important to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, visitors, members, and volunteers and we support the efforts of our government and medical professionals in reducing the spread of the virus.

"As cultural and educational institutions, we take our civic responsibility very seriously, and we work to defeat the pandemic together. We also firmly believe that our cultural institutions will play a central role in the city's ultimate recovery. We encourage our community to support our institutions in other ways during the season of giving, so that we can emerge from this period and welcome our visitors in the new year."