The Harvard Art Museums, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, have issued a joint press release announcing their temporary closure due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19. The announcement comes two days after governor Charlie Barker announced a state of emergency in Massachusetts, where, as of Thursday, there have been nearly one hundred confirmed cases of coronavirus. The four museums will close at the end of today’s workday.

“This decision was made collaboratively as a response to ensure the health and safety of our staff, our visitors and our community,” wrote Martha Tedeschi, Jill Medvedow, Peggy Fogelman, and Matthew Teitelbaum, the directors of the four institutions. “The CDC has clearly communicated that one of the most effective measures for controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is social distancing. Based on that recommendation, we feel it is our ethical responsibility to put the common good ahead of any one individual or institution. We know we are stronger together. We look forward to reopening when it is safe for the public, staff and volunteers.”

The collective statement came on the heels of the temporary closure of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which may lead more museums to close their doors during the pandemic.

[UPDATE: March 12, 4:55 PM] Cambridge’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts has announced that it will close to the public until further notice in “alignment with the closing of many other Boston-area public museums.”


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