Harvard Art Museums Will Reopen This Fall

The musems will welcome students back on September 1, and the public on September 4.

A few visitors in the arcade overlooking the Calderwood Courtyard of the Harvard Art Museums
Soon visitors will return to the arcade overlooking the museums' Calderwood Courtyard.Photo: Matthew Montieth; © President and Fellows of Harvard College. Image courtesy of the Harvard Art Museums.

The Harvard Art Museums have announced plans to reopen to the public this fall. The first visitors to return will be students: the galleries and courtyard will be open to them on Class Day, September 1, before allowing in the wider public beginning Saturday, September 4 (the intervening days, September 2-3, will offer previews to museum members and supporters). The museum café is also expected to reopen this fall.  

“We are thrilled to be reopening to all visitors, after the extraordinary events of the last year and a half,” said Cabot director Martha Tedeschi in a press release accompanying the announcement. Since March 2020, when the pandemic closed campus, the museums have held events and exhibits online only. “It is with great joy that we now look forward to welcoming everyone to visit in person.”

Operating at a reduced capacity, the museums will require advance reservations. Visitors can sign up for admission on the museums’ website beginning August 20, and reservations can be made up to three weeks in advance. A limited number of tickets may be available each day to walk-in visitors.

The museums are also launching a new program offering free admission to all visitors on Sundays (this comes in addition to the preexisting program offering free admission any day of the week to Harvard ID holders, students from any institution, youth under 18, museum members, and Cambridge residents).

Coinciding with the reopening, several new exhibitions are planned for the fall:

Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970 (September 17, 2021–January 16, 2022). Featuring approximately 160 photographs by 60 artists, the exhibition explores the unexpected and often hidden consequences of militarism on habitats and wellbeing in the United States.

States of Play: Prints from Rembrandt to Delsarte (September 4, 2021–January 2, 2022). The works in this exhibition—by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, Lee Krasner, Jacques Philippe Le Bas, and Louis Delsarte—unveil the layers of creative revision, correction, and adjustment behind finished prints.

A Colloquium in the Visual Arts (September 4, 2021–January 2, 2022). This installation supports the Harvard course Humanities 20, an introduction to the study of the humanities through major works of art and architecture from around the world: everything from ancient Persian sculpture to modern stop-motion photography.

ReFrame Ongoing; Phase 1 (On view beginning September 4, 2021). This initiative aims to reimagine the function, role, and future of the university art museum by illuminating difficult histories, investigating untold narratives, and experimenting with different approaches to storytelling. Visitors this fall will encounter several initial ReFrame installations, which include changes to key works in the most popular and highly visible areas of the museums.

Krzysztof Wodiczko: Portrait (October 14, 2021–April 17, 2022). This commissioned artwork by Krzysztof Wodiczko explores the state of democracy today, through video interviews capturing voices and opinions from across the political spectrum; the work is juxtaposed with the museums’ iconic portrait of George Washington (c. 1795) by Gilbert Stuart. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Harvard Design School, which will present a career-spanning look at Wodiczko’s work in their own galleries later in the fall.

Read more articles by: Lydialyle Gibson

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