Press Release

Major Cultural Attractions Set to Reopen

Published June 26, 2020

Friday, June 26, 2020
For Immediate Release

Contacts: Meg Colombo (MAG), mcolombo@mag.rochester.edu,  585-353-7566
Felicia Swartzenberg (RMSC), fswartzenberg@rmsc.org, 585-465-3852
Shane Rhinewald (The Strong), srhinewald@museumofplay.org, 585-410-6365
Kellie Fraver (GEM), kfraver@eastman.org, 585-327-4813

ROCHESTER, NY—Three of Rochester’s largest cultural attractions—the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG), Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC), and The Strong National Museum of Play—will open Saturday, June 27, as part of New York Forward’s Phase 4 for reopening. The George Eastman Museum will remain closed until mid-July due to construction on the Thomas Tischer Visitor Center. The Strong and MAG will be open to members only to start, and RMSC will be open to the general public.

All four institutions, closed since early March, will feature limited capacities, enhanced sanitation protocols, and other safety measures:

Memorial Art Gallery

The Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester will reopen for members on Saturday, June 27, and will reopen to the general public on Wednesday, July 8. In welcoming the community back to MAG, the safety and well-being of all visitors is the museum’s top priority. The implementation of special cleaning and physical distancing protocols will ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone. All visitors and staff will wear masks for added protection. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy two temporary exhibitions that were originally scheduled to end while MAG was closed because of Covid-19. The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art will now be on view through September 14, and media artist Ja’Tovia Gary’s Giverny I (NÉGRESSE IMPÉRIALE) will be on view through August 16. For more information regarding the health and safety protocols MAG has put into place, visit mag.rochester.edu/about/meet-me-again-at-mag/.

“MAG is Rochester’s civic art museum,” said Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director Jonathan Binstock, “and is a place where people come together to engage in spirited conversation and debate about art and creativity. For more than a century, MAG has played an especially important role during difficult times, when people need the beauty, solace, and sense of safety that only an art museum can provide. MAG is grateful to be able to play this role now, as we warmly welcome our public back.”

Rochester Museum and Science Center

The Rochester Museum & Science Center is ready to reopen its doors and welcome the community back to the Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium, and Cumming Nature Center. The organization will continue to provide the same, educationally enriching resources and activities at each location, but has implemented some new procedures to ensure the health and safety of visitors, staff, and volunteers: visitors will be advised to purchase tickets online in advance; all visitors, staff, and volunteers will be required to wear masks throughout their visit; visitors will be asked to maintain six feet of distance from other parties; some high-touch, interactive exhibits will be temporarily closed or modified; and visitors will be encouraged to wash their hands often and use the complimentary hand sanitizer. A full list of the RMSC’s health, well-being, and safety protocols are available at rmsc.org/science-museum/hours-admission-directions

In addition to implementing additional safety precautions, the RMSC adjusted the hours of operation at the museum and lowered ticket prices. The museum will be open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 4:30 p.m., with member-only hours available on Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon. 

“We’ve missed our visitors and are excited to welcome them back,” said Hillary Olson, President and CEO of the Rochester Museum & Science Center. “Although things will be different, we’re still the same Museum, Planetarium, and Nature Center you all know and love. We are keeping guest and staff safety at the top of our minds, and any changes to your experience will reflect that.”

The Strong

The Strong will be open for members from June 27 to July 10 and open to the general public on July 11. Changes to the museum include timed sessions, daily capacity limits, modifications to its exhibit, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Face masks will be required for all medically able guests age 2 and older. Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden will be closed until mid-July and the food court will remain closed. The Lost World of Dragons exhibit, previously slated to close in May, has been extended through Labor Day. For more information on safety protocols and the full list of exhibit modifications, visit www.museumofplay.org/play-safe

“All of us at The Strong are proud of the work that this community has done and the sacrifices that they’ve made to get our region to Phase 4, and we’re excited to be able to welcome back our members tomorrow,” said Steve Dubnik, President and CEO of The Strong. “Museums serve a crucial role in our communities to educate, break down barriers, and preserve our shared history. The Strong will have new safety features in place and some other changes, but our mission and commitment remains the same—to explore the important role of play in culture and human development.”

George Eastman Museum

The George Eastman Museum has announced it will not open with other area cultural institutions and museums on Saturday, June 27. Due to the ongoing construction of the Thomas Tischer Visitor Center, the museum will remain closed until mid-July to accommodate that project and the safety of staff and visitors. The Dryden Theatre will reopen to the general public for film screenings in August. Upon reopening in July, all visitors and staff members will be required to wear face masks when on the George Eastman Museum campus, including all indoor and outdoor areas of the museum (e.g. galleries, historic mansion, gardens). Social distancing will be enforced and hand sanitizing stations will be available for visitors throughout the museum. Full information about visiting and safety measures will be available before the museum reopens in July at eastman.org/welcomeback

“We are eager to welcome visitors back to the George Eastman Museum this summer,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “Our top priority is the health and safety of our visitors and staff, and we look forward to opening the doors to new exhibitions in the gallery spaces, and a fully restored Colonnade leading visitors into the historic mansion.”