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Harvard Art Museums to reopen — finally — in September

The building has remained closed to the public since March 12, 2020.
The building has remained closed to the public since March 12, 2020.Zak Jense/Courtesy Harvard Art Museums

After a nearly 18-month closure, Harvard Art Museums will reopen to the public Sept. 4 with limited attendance and a slate of new exhibitions, according to a statement released Tuesday morning.

The museums, among the region’s largest and most important art institutions, participated in a coordinated closure with a group of its Boston area peers on March 12, 2020, as coronavirus fears prompted mass shutdowns across North America. The other three — the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum — reopened starting in July 2020 (though they closed again for a time as COVID-19 cases spiked last winter). But Harvard remained shuttered all along, meaning people will soon walk its galleries for the first time since the early days of the pandemic.


The prolonged closure meant that Harvard Art Museums’ largest-ever exhibition, “Painting Edo,” was available for just one month following its February 14, 2020, opening. The museums will reopen with a slate of new exhibitions, including “States of Play: Prints from Rembrandt to Delsarte” (through Jan. 2) and “Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970” (Sept. 17 to Jan. 16).

While the MFA, ICA, and Gardner museums are now operating at normal capacity, Harvard Art Museums will limit visitor numbers for the foreseeable future. Timed tickets also are required, even for a new “free Sundays” program.

In its statement, Harvard advised museumgoers to check harvardartmuseums.org for “additional health and safety measures” while planning their trips. Reservations can be made beginning Aug. 20.

Murray Whyte can be reached at murray.whyte@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheMurrayWhyte.