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Baltimore Museum of Art and Reginald Lewis Museum shut down temporarily amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Two of Baltimore’s largest museums — the Baltimore Museum of Art and Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture — have announced plans to close temporarily during the holidays in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

The BMA will be closed beginning Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 26, according to a museum news release, and will reopen as scheduled on Wednesday, Dec. 29. The BMA normally is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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However, the museum’s gift shop and Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen will remain open Dec. 22-23, and Dec. 26.

The Lewis Museum will close Wednesday through Jan. 4, reopening Thursday, Jan. 5. A previously scheduled event, Holiday Home Cookin’ at the Lewis, event will be held as scheduled tonight, though a spokeswoman said that COVID-19 protocols and social distancing will be strictly enforced.

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The BMA’s closure will affect visitors who have purchased tickets this week to view the exhibit, “A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone and Baltimore.” Those visitors will automatically be issued a refund, the release said. However, tickets remain available for the exhibit’s final week, which ends Jan. 2.

In addition, the portrait of former Democratic U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummingspainted by the Baltimore artist Jerrell Gibbs will be on view from Dec. 29 through Jan. 9. The portrait originally was scheduled to go on public view on Wednesday.

“Given the current surge in positive COVID cases, we need a moment to step back and ensure our staff is ready to serve museum visitors,” the museum said in the news release.

“We think cautiously is the best way to move forward. We are looking forward to welcoming guests back on Dec. 29.”

Baltimore’s remaining two arts museums are shutting briefly for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, though museum spokespersons say the closures are not motivated by the pandemic.

The Walters Art Museum will be shuttered Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1. The American Visionary Art Museum will close at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. In addition, AVAM will be closed Dec. 25, but will be open on Jan. 1, a spokesman said.

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