Texas museums are allowed to open their doors again on Friday, May 1, according to Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to reopen the state for business. But most in Dallas-Fort Worth say they will not.
Under the governor's April 27 decree, museums can open in "Phase 1" under the same 25-percent capacity limit as restaurants, malls, and movie theaters. Any interactive or hands-on exhibits must remain closed.
Museums, just like most businesses, are scrambling to come up with plans to reopen that are safe for visitors, staff, and volunteers amid the coronavirus pandemic — and they're not there yet, they say.
Here's a quick glance at what major museums in Dallas-Fort Worth are saying about reopening — and how virtual visitors can still enjoy their works at home.
Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison is the one exception to the rest of the list. It plans to reopen with limited hours May 1. "History buffs — and families seeking educational opportunities for children — should both be thrilled when Addison’s Cavanaugh Flight Museum reopens this Friday," they say through a spokeswoman. "Through Phase One of the Texas plan to reopen businesses, Cavanaugh Flight Museum will be open only Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am-4 pm. They note that the museum’s hangars and large outdoor areas make social distancing easy. The nonprofit is home to one of the largest private collections of warbirds in the Southwest.
Dallas Museum of Art announced in a Facebook post that they would not be reopening May 1. "With the health and safety of our visitors and staff as our top priority, the DMA will not reopen on May 1. We will confirm a reopening timeline as soon as we determine that we can do so with the proper measures in place," they say.
Meanwhile: Take an virtual tour of their newest exhibition, "For a Dreamer of Houses," on the website.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art will stay closed past May 1. "It will take some time for the Carter to put the necessary health and safety measures into place to protect its staff and visitors," they say in a statement. "Our first priority is fostering a safe environment for our staff to return to the museum. Once our staff is onsite, we will be able to begin implementing the health and safety protocols needed to invite the public back into our institution. We look forward to welcoming audiences back to the museum at a later date, and we will announce our plans to reopen as soon as we know we are able to do so safely."
Meanwhile: The new documentary The Perilous Texas Adventures of Mark Dion goes inside the Carter's current exhibition of the same name. It debuted on KERA-Channel 13 and will begin streaming on Amazon Prime in May.
Meadows Museum on the SMU campus will remain closed and is making careful preparations to safely reopen to visitors, staff, and volunteers, according to guidelines set by the university and local governments. "We are working on a plan to reopen but do not have a firm date yet as to when that can happen," a spokeswoman confirmed.
Meanwhile: Meadows is offering digital content posted on its social media channels, including docent-led tours, explorations of the collection, and activities for families.
Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth will remain closed past May 1. "In accordance with health and safety guidelines from state and local officials, the Kimbell Art Museum is carefully considering when and how we may begin to reopen while ensuring the safety and comfort of our visitors, staff and volunteers," they say in a statement. "At this time, we have not yet set a date for reopening to the public ... We look forward to welcoming our visitors back once we are ready and able to do so safely."
Meanwhile: Explore the collection, download family art activities, and take an audio tour through the Kimbell at Home offerings.
Nasher Sculpture Center will stay closed, saying on social media, "While the Governor of Texas has listed museums among those entities permitted to participate in Phase 1 reopening, the Nasher Sculpture Center will hold off reopening, with the health and safety of staff and visitors as our highest priority."
Meanwhile: They remind patrons that "despite staying closed, we have many resources available for continued interaction with our art and discussions." They've even just launched a new Facebook group called Nasher Shelf Life for those who want to take part in discussion of cultural learning. "Think of it as a book club with only two obligations, be nice and don't spam," they say.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will not reopen May 1. "The DHHRM is eager to share its mission in the way that our museum was meant to be experienced, one person at a time," they say in a statement. "While we prepare for the ideal time to reopen, we are taking proactive steps to ensure we do this in the safest way possible."
Meanwhile: They continue to offer free virtual programming — including new presentations in their popular iRead book club series — on their website.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will not reopen May 1. "We are still determining out path to reopening and will keep you posted," a spokeswoman says.
Meanwhile: Virtual visitors can spend time with their special exhibition "Mark Bradford: End Papers" at home. Take a walk through the galleries as the artist discusses his work and his thoughts on the exhibition here.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is such an interactive museum, that it wouldn't be viable to open May 1. "The health and well-being of our guests, staff and community is our highest priority," says their statement. "While we support the eventual reopening of certain sectors of the economy — and appreciate that the plan recognizes the unique nature of each institution — the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will not reopen May 1. Our leadership team will thoughtfully consider the ongoing social-distancing mandates and other compliance factors as we determine when to reopen."
Meanwhile: A 360-degree tour of "Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind" is available here.
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth is staying closed May 1. "The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame has not set a date for reopening to the public at this time," they say in a statement. "We are reviewing the state and local health and safety protocols to make sure that when we do reopen, we will be able to do so with all the proper precautions in place ... We thank you for your support, and look forward to welcoming you back in the building soon."
Meanwhile: Patrons can engage with the Cowgirl through educational resources — like story times and downloadable games and crafts — on the website.
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will remain closed well past May 1. "Due to the hands-on nature of The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History's interactive exhibitions, the museum's team is currently reviewing each exhibit individually and developing a plan for reopening," they say through a spokeswoman. "With plans to reopen early July 2020, FWMSH is aiming to reinvent current exhibitions to further increase health and safety precautions while maintaining the experiential elements that their community and tourist love."
Meanwhile: The museum's Discover Lab Online offers intriguing experiments and activities for the whole family, free of charge