More masks in Boston’s art museums

After 16 months without facial expressions, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Jill Medvedow, can’t wait to see the smiles of visitors again in the galleries of her museum. “The combination of art and people is powerful,” she said.

Medvedow and leaders of the National Gallery and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museums have been coordinating throughout the pandemic to provide consistent messages to their visitors.

“I think it’s really important for us to be able to clearly communicate with our different and diverse audiences what they can expect,” Medvedow explained.

In accordance with CDC, Massachusetts and Boston guidelines, the three museums are lifting mask requirements for those vaccinated, as well as social distancing.

“It’s so exciting,” Medvedow said of the milestone moment, “that we can now, once again, fully share in the pleasures and sense of community that we provide, that we love, that we missed so much.”

Each institution has its own exhibition schedules and unique footprints to manage, so they will take their own approaches to increasing capacity over time in their galleries. Here’s some of what you can expect when you go.

The Institute of Contemporary Art

Starting 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, as well as staff and contractors, can do without masks. Advance and timed tickets are highly recommended as the ICA returns to normal, but Director Jill Medvedow said people can now go up and purchase a timed ticket if there is availability/space. Live outdoor shows 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 staff in the weeks and months ahead. Like the ICA, the museum will no longer require social distancing. Indoor concerts resume in the fall.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The MFA will increase the capacities of the galleries throughout the month of June. Starting in July, visitors need only pre-book timed admission tickets to “Monet and Boston: Legacy Illuminated” and “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation.”

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