The Reopening of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Quinn Luce
After six months of closure, the Nelson is finally ready to open its doors to the public.
The Nelson-Atkins museum of Art reopened on September 12th with a few changes to adjust for COVID-19. Masks and social distancing are required in the building, as for the outside areas masks are required when in close proximity to others. 

Although admission is free, to fulfill the social distancing requirement, the museum has capped the capacity of the building. The official website states that, “Guests are encouraged to reserve tickets online. Choose a day and time, then order tickets online or by phone, 816.751.1278. Tickets also will be available at the Info Desk in Bloch Lobby.” 

Staff and volunteer temperatures are monitored while the museum’s customer’s temperatures are not taken. Hand sanitizer stations are positioned throughout the building, along with signs that guide museum-goers.

So far, the soft-opening has gone smoothly. Despite the new guidelines, some are saying the experience at the museum is mostly the same. Mayor Quinton Lucas paid a visit to the museum on the day of reopening, and later on Twitter commented that, “Director Julián Zugazagoitia, and his staff have built a beautiful, safe, and welcoming environment.” A user on the Nelson-Atkins official Instagram account commented that they did a “Wonderful job taking care of opening. We were there today. Never felt any concerns. Less crowded than a grocery store. Everyone in masks. Sanitizer placed around and lots of beautiful open space! Felt fabulous to be back.”

On the other hand, some are concerned about the reopening of the museum because of the increasing amount of COVID-19 cases in Missouri. It is without a doubt that the reopening of various establishments over the summer led to a significant increase in COVID cases. The timing of reopening may be wise compared to the reopening of some restaurants and other businesses in May or June, but cases in Missouri are still rising significantly. The New York Times reports an average of about 1,500 new cases in Missouri each day. Which is a 16% increase in average from the past two weeks. 

Although there is concern about the safety of individuals attending the museum, the reopening of the Nelson may be necessary to keep the museum from closing down. According to NPR “One-Third Of U.S. Museums May Not Survive The Year.” Even though the Nelson’s admission is free, their revenue stream primarily relies on donations, and the more visitors the museum has, the more donors. There is obviously a dilemma regarding the Nelson’s opening, as there always seems to be when a business reopens, but so far the museum has had no reported outbreak of cases.


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    Lucia Scott 

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  • Editors & Writers

    Avani Lakkireddy
    Quinn Luce
    Vineeth Mothe
    Charlotte Park
    Amrit Siam
    Finnian Waldron