Tomorrow, San Francisco’s de Young Museum will do something it hasn’t done for six months because of city and state restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic: The museum will open to the general public, letting visitors roam its galleries and experience art inside the institution.
Since Tuesday, de Young members have been able to take in the museum’s exhibitions, including its widely anticipated show on Frida Kahlo, but tomorrow’s public opening is the museum’s de facto re-emergence as a working institution. The de Young has operated since 1895, and before the pandemic struck, a million visitors walked through its doors each year. With the coronavirus still lingering as a health concern, the museum is imposing new measures, including timed tickets that visitors are encouraged to get in advance, and a requirement to wear face coverings. To limit large crowds, the de Young is reducing its visitor capacity to 25 percent.
San Francisco’s other major museums are scheduled to open in the following weeks, with SFMOMA opening to the public on October 4 (after three days of member visits), the Asian Art Museum on October 3 (after two days of member visits), and the Contemporary Jewish Museum on October 17 (after two days of member previews). The Legion of Honor and other museums are also expected to re-open sometime in October. All of San Francisco’s major museums had been closed since March 14, which forced them to find ways of showcasing their artwork online.
The re-openings come after San Francisco officials announced on Sept. 10 that indoor museums and galleries could open as soon as Monday, Sept. 21 if San Francisco’s Department of Public Health approved their health and safety plans.