Photo Courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation
By Angela Hickey
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, D.C. proceeds to resume a sense of normalcy after being shut down due to the stay-at-home order for all residents and businesses. After many months of closure and uncertainty amidst the pandemic, the Hirshhorn Museum has decided to reopen its famous sculpture garden. With the implementation of a series of new health and safety regulations, the Hirshhorn hopes to give art lovers a chance to enjoy all the interesting pieces the museum has to offer once again.
The Hirshhorn Museum has been a staple of the D.C. art scene since its original opening in 1974. Originally established by Congress to showcase many artists of the time, the famous museum and sculpture garden has become one of the most powerful sources of contemporary art in the world. Today, they help showcase artists whose works challenge not only the political and cultural landscape, but also the very practice of art-making itself.
Unfortunately, like many other businesses in the D.C. area, they were forced to close their doors due to the stay-at-home-order implemented by D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser. On April 1, 2020, to the dismay of the local art fanatics, the Hirshhorn closed its doors to the public, unsure of when they would be able to allow visitors again. After many hard months, businesses started to open again, with regulations in place to keep workers and the general public safe from contracting the virus, and the Hirshhorn was no different.
The museum officially decided to reopen recently, with some restrictions in place. In order to help visitors safely relish in all the wonderful art that the museum has to offer, the Hirshhorn is limiting the reopening to the outdoor sculpture garden only, keeping the plaza and main building temporarily closed while allowing the public to safely enjoy art once again.
The grand reopening comes with a long list of rules and regulations in order to enjoy the experience as safely as possible. The Hirshhorn asks that all visitors enter the sculpture garden through the National Mall in order to keep social interaction between the visitors to a minimum. The capacity has been limited to only allow a certain number of guests at a time, and visitors to the garden over the age of six are required to wear a mask.
Visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing and are prohibited from touching the art in any way. Additionally, art-goers are welcome to plan their path through the garden before the visit in order to enjoy the garden to its fullest extent while also abiding by safety precautions. The museum encourages all visitors to utilize hand-sanitizing stations located around the garden and to stay home if feeling unwell, in order to keep the potential of spreading the virus to a minimum.
The Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden officially reopened on August 17 and can be viewed for free by visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional information they provided about the reopening can be found on their official website.