Juggling public health concerns and enthusiastic community members, Yale-affiliated art museums are using cautious reopening plans


In the face of the Omicron variant and coinciding with stricter public health guidelines for the wider Yale community, the Yale Center for British Art and Yale University Art Gallery closed earlier this winter and recently implemented reopening plans.

Collaborating journalist

Winnie Jiang

After the Omicron Wave shuts out Monet and Manet visitors, Yale’s art institutions prepare to reopen to the public.

Amid rising numbers of cases in mid-December, Yale-affiliated art institutions, including the Yale Center for British Art and Yale University Art Gallery, closed their doors to faculty, students and the general public. The gallery closed on December 20 and extended its closure indefinitely on January 3, citing efforts “to guard against the spread of the coronavirus…and to keep our visitors and staff safe.”

In a statement to the News, the Gallery announced that beginning February 8, they “are currently open to students, faculty, and staff — Yale ID holders — Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Gallery plans to open to the public on February 25 and is working alongside the University to implement secure entry procedures. Meeting Yale’s vaccination requirements is a prerequisite for the visit.

In the meantime, the YUAG has maintained its extensive collection online, where e-visitors can virtually access many of the gallery’s works. For more enthusiastic fans, the Gallery offers ‘E-Gallery Talks’ and a monthly online family program, ‘Stories and Art’, during which Gallery staff tell stories and exhibit related works of art. for curious children. The program is offered in English and Spanish, which is important for a city with a Hispanic population of over 30%, according to the US Census Bureau.

Jacob Martin ’25, an undergrad and New Haven native who recalls frequenting the gallery with friends as a child, described taking trips to the museum in first semester with his art history class .

“I usually stayed half an hour to an hour after the section, just on my own to browse the gallery and see the pieces,” Martin recounted.

Although he has yet to take advantage of the Museum’s webinars, Martin praised his online collection.

“They have a really fantastic online catalog, which I used for some of the articles I wrote last semester,” Martin said. “All the information you will need [for a class] is pretty much in the catalog.

But for Martin, getting to know a work of art is largely about seeing it in person and becoming familiar with it in the museum setting.

Martin’s YUAG-affiliated class this semester, “Art and Technology,” suggests visits to the Gallery in its schedule, and he hopes to return soon.

The Center for British Art has closed to the public following the December 20 campus alert status change from yellow to orange. The center announced via Twitter on January 4 that it would be “closed to the public until further notice”, also citing “health and safety” precautions as the reason for its closure.

In an email to The News, YCBA Special Events and Advancement Coordinator Kristin Dwyer wrote that the museum “looks forward to reopening to the public on March 3,” albeit with capacity limitations and additional safety instructions.

From the opening, hours will be limited to Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Proof of vaccination status will be required, but advance reservations will not.

“The reopening date coincides with the opening of our special exhibition, ‘Bridget Riley: Perceptual Abstraction,'” Dwyer explained. The exhibition will take place over two floors of the museum and will trace Riley’s career over 60 years.

Throughout the closure, the YCBA offered a number of lectures as part of a program called “At Home: Artists in Conversation”. The free online conversations place two artists in dialogue for an hour-long discussion of “various artistic practices and insights into their work,” according to the Center’s website.

Although pre-registration is required, recordings for the program are made online after its live debut. Despite the reopening of the museum, the virtual program will continue in the spring.

The Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art are located across from each other on Chapel St.


Comments are closed.