Gregg Museum of Art and Design is open, community response is slow but hopeful | Arts Entertainment

Emilee Geist

The Gregg Museum of Art and Design, NC State’s collection of art exhibitions, paintings, archaeological artifacts and more, saw no guests for nearly seven months due to COVID-19 precautions. On Sept. 23, the museum reopened to the public with the necessary protocols in place to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for every visitor.

According to Evelyn McCauley, marketing and communications coordinator for the Gregg Museum, anyone who wants to visit must now register on an Eventbrite page for a 30-minute reservation. Visitors are also required to check in at the front desk, wear masks and maintain social distancing. In the weeks since reopening, the protocols have successfully kept the visitors safe, and people are more than happy to take the rules seriously. 

“So far, so good,” said Jeanny Sandoval, the visitor services and security coordinator at the Gregg. “It’s an extra step that people have to take, but they’re very happy to come back to the museum now that we’re reopening.”

The museum, which was previously open every day except for Monday, is now closed on the weekends as well. 

“People are just starting to venture out these days,” McCauley said. “Obviously, we would like to go back to welcoming visitors on weekends and extending our hours to the usual hours once we can.”

Alongside the opportunity to visit in person, the Gregg Museum is still offering a variety of virtual tours and exhibitions for those who are unable to leave their homes or are too far from campus. Those who visit the website are welcome to virtually tour exhibitions such as “All that Glitters,” a glitzy collection of garments, tapestries and more, or “Fantastic Fauna,” an exhibition from 2019 that features meticulously detailed drawings of various creatures.

“For the museum, I would say that that has been the greatest advantage,” McCauley said. “It wasn’t what we necessarily planned to do, but implementing it was actually not too difficult. It was a different way of thinking, but we were still exhibiting art and talking about what the artists’ intentions were.”

Despite the successful reopening, the museum has seen a decline in the number of guests due to the limited hours. According to Sandoval, closing on the weekends has been the biggest reason for the diminished number of visitors.

“We definitely didn’t know what to expect,” Sandoval said. “Mainly, the bulk of our visitorship was on Saturdays and Sundays. Since we don’t have those days open, it does impact the amount of visitors we can have.”

McCauley was hopeful the museum would be able to reopen fully in the future, with the necessary precautions in place.

“Obviously, we would like to go back to welcoming visitors on weekends and extending our hours back to normal once we can,” McCauley said. “In the spring, we’re going to consult with experts here at the University and keep an eye on how things are going. It’s partly going to depend on how the virus behaves.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of online opportunities the general public can take advantage of, from live artist talks to virtual guided tours of the entire museum. Students and staff in town are more than welcome to visit in person with a timed ticket reservation. Anyone who is planning to visit is recommended to watch the museum’s safety protocol video before they go.

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