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Boston museums to let the vaccinated roam mask-free

A masked visitor took a break at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.
A masked visitor took a break at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Smiles will return to Boston museums this weekend — not on gallery walls, but on the uncovered faces of patrons. As Massachusetts lifts COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, the city’s three biggest art museums are likewise relaxing their policies on masks. Effective Saturday, the Museum of Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will no longer require face coverings for vaccinated visitors.

The coordinated policy will operate on something of an honor system. Staffers will not be checking vaccination status, according to spokespersons for all three museums. The New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science are updating guidelines in a similar manner.


Not every museum is tossing its mask mandate just yet. The Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, wants all visitors in face coverings through the end of June. And it makes sense that the Children’s Museum has no plans for dropping its universal requirement, since vaccines are not yet available for little kids.

For now, timed tickets, purchased in advance, are still required or strongly recommended for all. Check individual websites or call ahead before venturing out.

Christy DeSmith can be reached at christy.desmith@globe.com. Follw her on Twitter @christydesmith.