Dinos, Penguins And Monet Ready To Welcome Visitors Again As Some Museums Reopen

Art Institute
Changes in COVID-19 restrictions announced by state leaders this week will allow Chicago museums to reopen with a 25% cap on occupancy, among other safety measures. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
Art Institute
Changes in COVID-19 restrictions announced by state leaders this week will allow Chicago museums to reopen with a 25% cap on occupancy, among other safety measures. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

Dinos, Penguins And Monet Ready To Welcome Visitors Again As Some Museums Reopen

Penguins, dinosaurs and Monet masterpieces will no longer have to sit idly or alone as museums in Chicago set reopening dates.

Local institutions are looking forward to welcoming back visitors after state officials announced on Monday they’re easing COVID-19 restrictions in Chicago. Museums can reopen under Tier 2 mitigations, which require a 25% cap on occupancy and limit tour groups to 50 people or less. Indoor dining at museums will remain closed.

As some museums forge ahead with reopening, others are taking a more cautious approach. Here’s the latest on some of Chicago’s major cultural attractions:

The Field Museum: Open to members on Jan. 21

The Field will reopen to members on Thursday and Friday before welcoming the general public on Saturday. The museum will continue to require masks and social distancing, and will keep high-touch areas and activities closed, according to a news release.

The Field will host two free days for Illinois residents on Jan. 25 and Jan. 28. It will remain closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the time being, but expects to reopen seven days a week in the near future.

The Shedd Aquarium: Open to members on Jan. 27

The Shedd will offer a members-only preview Jan. 27-29. It will be open to the public beginning Jan. 30. Ticket pre-sales will begin Thursday for members and Saturday for the public.

The Shedd will require tickets ahead of time and face masks for all visitors over the age of two. High-touch areas and activities will be closed. The Sea Star Touch and Sturgeon Touch will be view-only to allow for social distancing.

Art Institute of Chicago: Opening next month

The Art Institute of Chicago will reopen to the public on Feb. 11.

At the time of its second closing two months ago, the museum had on display Claude Monet and Bisa Butler exhibits. Both will be available when the Art Institute reopens.

Tickets will be required and available on the museum’s website beginning next week.

Museum of Contemporary Art: Opening in March

The MCA will reopen on Tuesday, March 2.

The museum will operate at its regular hours, open six days a week and closed on Mondays.

National Museum of Mexican Art: Potential September reopening

The museum in the Pilsen neighborhood is holding off any immediate reopening.

President and founder Carlos Tortolero said the museum is keeping its community in mind when making decisions about when to reopen its doors.

“Out of respect to my community … we are not going to open up until enough people out there have been vaccinated — that’s the key thing in this whole crisis,” Tortolero said.

Tortolero said the museum is looking at a possible September reopening, at which time the museum’s popular Day of the Dead exhibit would be on display.

Adler Planetarium: Remains closed

The Adler, which has been temporarily closed since March, has no imminent plans to reopen. Adler spokesperson Jennifer Howell said the planetarium will remain closed “until the vaccine has allowed for a full capacity reopening under state guidelines.”

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago History Museum: Remain closed

Both museums are still temporarily closed until further notice, according to their websites Wednesday.

Ashley Duong is a news intern for WBEZ. Follow her @ash_lee_duong.