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Harvard Art Museums to require proof of vaccination

Visitors to the Harvard Art Museums will soon be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.David L Ryan/Globe Staff/file

The Harvard Art Museums will require all visitors to provide either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain admission, the museums announced Tuesday.

The new policy, which goes into effect Sept. 28, is similar to requirements already in place at Harvard University and a variety of area performing arts organizations, many of which have recently beefed up their public health protocols amid rising infection rates.

But while some museums nationally have instituted vaccination requirements, Tuesday’s announcement positions the Harvard museums as a rarity in Greater Boston, where most major museums simply require patrons wear masks (though some, such as the Museum of Science, have mandated staff and volunteers be vaccinated).


The Harvard museums, which are operating at reduced capacity and require advance reservations, also require masks indoors.

Under the new policy, visitors younger than 12 will not need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, but they must be accompanied by an adult. Proof of vaccination may include a physical vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a “digital vaccine record.” For those who cannot provide proof of vaccination, the museums will accept a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the visit (but not a rapid test).

“This new policy will help us provide a safe environment for all our constituents, as we continue to implement a multi-layered approach to public health measures,” Harvard Art Museums director Martha Tedeschi said in a statement. “We’ve worked diligently with Harvard to ensure that everyone on campus and inside our buildings is protected to the highest degree possible.”

The museums did not specify how long the new policy will be in effect.

Malcolm Gay can be reached at malcolm.gay@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @malcolmgay.