Philadelphia Museum of Art to re-open as beacon of light after six months in the dark

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- It's a must-see for tourists and a respite from the bustling city for locals, but for the last six months, The Philadelphia Museum of Art had its doors locked by COVID-19.

Starting this Sunday, September 6, it will open to the public for the first time since March.

"Ultimately, there is this love for this place, this city, this symbol of culture here," said Jessica Sharpe, Director of Visitor Operations and Membership. "To have it go dark for as long as we've had to do because of the pandemic has been really, really challenging."

The museum ushered in phase one of re-opening by introducing its staff to new safety protocols earlier in July. The second phase began today, as members with the museum had the chance to visit for the first time in months. This phase will continue into the weekend, as public entry is permitted on Sunday and the following Monday holiday, Labor Day.

As it will be the first Sunday of the month, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be offering a "pay what you wish" policy. That policy also pops up every Wednesday evening from 5pm to 7:30pm, encouraging people of all economic circumstances to appreciate the museum. Apart from these special hours, admission will continue to be $25 for adults and free for ages 18 and under.

From Contemporary Abstraction to Minimalist and Monochrome, the museum holds exciting discoveries for all ages.

"There's no reason why people shouldn't be lining up to get back in," said Yuri Sirko, a Philadelphia resident who has been patronizing the museum for 60 years. "We've got to open up. We've got to get back to life. This is a good start."

He was one of the dozens of guests who tiptoed throughout the decorated halls of the museum, all while wearing masks and keeping socially distant.

Marc Snitzer from Philadelphia was also in attendance. "We have sort of just been itching for some kind of normal thing to do," he said. "It's nice to just hear, y'know, the pitter-patter of other museum-goers in the galleries and to do things that you know used to feel good."

He and others carried themselves with a serene silence that screamed with wonder and awe.

"I'm a museum junkie," said Judy Wellington from Philadelphia. "Even though you might not talk to the person next to you, you are aware that you have similar interests. I think that helps especially at this time."

The museum will continue to enforce safety measures such as mask-wearing, temperature checks, limited capacity and social distancing for the foreseeable future. After the holiday weekend, it will return to a Wednesday through Sunday schedule.

Admission will only be granted at the North Entrance, which is adjacent to Kelly Drive and just a few paces away from the parking garage.

For hours of operation and more information, visit their website.

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