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Brockton museum crafts a reopening

The main entrance to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton.
The main entrance to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton.J. Kiely Jr./Fuller Craft Museum

Fuller Craft Museum, closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus crisis, will reopen to the public Aug. 6 with a new show exploring how our lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic.

The Brockton museum’s curators drew on works from the permanent collection to create an exhibit titled “Shelter, Place, Social, Distance: Contemporary Dialogues from the Permanent Collection.”

Chief curator Beth McLaughlin described the new show as a response to "an explosion of new words and phrases" emerging from society's struggle to make sense of the epidemic's social consequences.

“This pervasive terminology,” McLaughlin stated, such as “shelter in place, social distancing, flatten the curve, PPE, and more offered a practical shorthand with which to frame the rapidly changing world and united us through shared cultural ‘touchpoints.’”

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Seen in the context of ordinary life, she said, these terms suggest “a conceptual springboard for exploring how the universal subjects of home, place, community, and distance are represented in Fuller Craft Museum’s permanent collection.”

The museum, which exhibits fresh work by artists working in traditional craft materials, closed in March along with other museums, concert halls, theaters, and movie houses in accord with Governor Charlie Baker’s advisories to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus in public places.

Located at 455 Oak St., Fuller Craft will reopen to the general public on Thursday, Aug. 6. A museum members’ preview day was scheduled to take place on Saturday, Aug. 1.

The museum will operate on a limited schedule this month, open only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And the price of admission should be right — even for those who haven’t previously set foot inside its doors: a “pay what you want” donation.

To meet the current safety regulations for reopening to the public, the museum drew up guidelines that require all visitors and staff to wear masks “except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability.” Everyone inside the museum should remain 6 feet apart from others.

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Hand sanitizers will be available at the museum’s entrances. Visitors are encouraged to make donations without cash. Workshop registrations take place only online.

Museum staff will disinfect restrooms and “touchpoints” regularly in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines. For more information, visit the museum’s website at fullercraft.org.

The museum’s capacity will be limited to 48 people at a time. The ordinary capacity is 846.

Fuller Craft’s full schedule — Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. — will tentatively resume on Sept. 1.

The museum also announced that several important facility repairs were completed during the shutdown through grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Windgate Foundation, and other sources.

“The most impactful thing is that we got a new elevator,” said Titilayo Ngwenya, the museum’s director of communications. “The old one was accessible, but this update makes the ride smoother, nicer.”

The museum also installed a new roof, windows, sliders, signage, and double doors to the courtyard, she said, and made other improvements.

Four of the museum’s “special exhibitions” have had their closing dates extended.

“Human Impact: Stories of the Opioid Epidemic,” an exhibit seeking to broaden awareness of the epidemic’s impact while offering hope, is now on view until Aug. 16. ”Serious Bling: Radical Jewelry Makeover,” based on a global recycling project while exploring the damaging effects of gold mining, is on view until Nov. 22.

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“Stephanie Cole: Secular Cathedral,” based on the artist’s found object constructions, is on view until Jan. 10, 2021.

And “James Grashow: The Great Monkey Project,” consisting of 80 cardboard monkeys, is on view until Jan. 31.

Ngwenya said the museum’s unique concentration on work derived from craft traditions makes a visit “an experience worth venturing out.”

“What makes our museum unique,” she said, is that its galleries “are filled with works of art rooted in function and birthed from consummate traditions of craft, but often recontextualized, materials reexamined, interrogated, and imbued with the hand of the maker.”

"We show objects of wonder," Ngwenya said, "extraordinary and strangely familiar craft, that will inspire and prompt new conversations."

Robert Knox can be reached at rc.knox2@gmail.com.

"Walk Home," a ceramic piece by Julie Elkins is one of the works in Fuller Craft Museum's permanent collection that is part of a new exhibit to mark the museum's reopening on Aug. 6.
"Walk Home," a ceramic piece by Julie Elkins is one of the works in Fuller Craft Museum's permanent collection that is part of a new exhibit to mark the museum's reopening on Aug. 6. Fuller Craft Museum