Coronavirus: Springfield Museum of Art prepares to welcome visitors back

Elizabeth Wetterstroem wipes down door handles on the entry to the galleries at the Springfield Museum of Art. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Elizabeth Wetterstroem wipes down door handles on the entry to the galleries at the Springfield Museum of Art. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The Springfield Museum of Art is preparing to reopen after being closed for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization will welcome visitors back to view brand new exhibitions and fresh items from its collection when it reopens to members on Wednesday and to the general public on July 15.

Being able to reopen with the implementation of numerous safety measures was the top concern for Jessimi Jones, executive director of the Springfield Museum of Art.

MORE: New music tour, fireworks show coming to Clark County fairgrounds

“We are grateful to have had the support of our community members through all of this,” said Jones, who was in her new position less than two months when the shutdown occurred. “We’ve been working hard to make sure the museum is among the safest places to visit for our members and visitors and for our staff and volunteers.”

Jones and staff consulted with other museum professionals around the country for best practices for reopening and had its plan reviewed by the Clark County Combined Health District.

Jones said wearing masks is recommended and hand sanitizer will be readily available.

Being respectful of other visitors in maintaining social distancing following state guidelines will be enforced, including 12 feet of space between visitors in the galleries. Anyone not feeling well or showing signs of illness is discouraged from visiting.

The museum, located at 107 Cliff Park Rd., will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 12:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Also added is a special hour 9-10 a.m. Wednesdays for people who are high-risk for COVID-19 such as seniors who want to enjoy the museum without as many visitors.

In addition to cleaning and sprucing up its spaces, the staff has rotated some of the works from its collection with “Celebrating Women: Female Artists from the Permanent Collection” to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage with several Ohio artists.

MORE: Coronavirus: United Senior Services in Clark County extends closure of local centers

Two other artists who both lived in Springfield will also get individual exhibitions.

Randy Deer earned the museum’s first Young Artist Award in 1946 and supported it over the years as a philanthropist, donating funds for the Randolph H. Deer Gallery in 1993 and earlier this year donated the largest single financial gift in the museum’s history, $1 million.

His exhibit of paintings ranging from cities and houses to a merry-go-round, will be in, appropriately, the Deer Gallery.

“Beneath the Smokestacks: Paintings by David Knapp” will open in the Halley & Klein Galleries. It will focus on his work painting foundries including one depicting Springfield’s own O.S. Kelly Co.

Other highlights include the “Vision 2020: Dayton/Kyoto Invitational Print Exchange’s 10th Exhibition” in the Beach Gallery, and the 74th Annual Juried Members’ Exhibition, opening Aug. 15 and showcasing a number of talented area artist-members.

With some entertainment options limited, Jones said now would be a good time to explore the museum, especially for those who’ve never been there. Another program about to launch will allow for even more people to visit who may not have had the opportunity.

“Please come down and visit us, we’re working hard to make it a safe experience. Everybody could use a little more joy these days and museums can add to that,” she said.

For more information on the Springfield Museum of Art, go to www.springfieldart.net/.