Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, Canton Museum of Art and Massillon Museum shut down.
CANTON Under normal circumstances, kids being out of school for weeks would be a boon for museums.
Instead, the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak has most closed, with hopes of reopening in April.
On Friday morning, Kimberly Kenney, executive director of the Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, planned to keep the venue open.
But by Friday afternoon that all changed, as Kenney announced the museum was closing. Employees will work from home.
“Even before the governor mandated that schools close for three weeks, we had many field trip cancellations,” she said. “So this is going to have a huge negative impact on our budget. This could not have happened at a worse time for museums, since field trip season makes up a large portion of our income.”
Kenney said that prior to its closing, museum staff took extra precautionary measures, including disinfecting public areas, doorknobs, handrails and elevators.
They also put on display a four-panel exhibition about COVID-19 developed by the New York Hall of Science in its front lobby.
Prior to Friday’s announcement, Kenney said the museum already postponed two upcoming events: A “Mystery Murder Dinner Theater“ scheduled for March 26, and Bridal Show that was set for April 4.
“At least half of our audience at both events is 60 and over, and since that population needs to take extra precautions, we decided to postpone both events,” she said. “We are planning to reschedule them, but no date has been set at this time. We will monitor the situation and will set new dates as soon as we are able.”
Executive director Max Barton announced on Friday that the Canton Museum of Art is temporarily closed to the public. While closed, the museum will undergo installation of some new exhibitions and routine maintenance operations.
The museum’s spring classes and workshops have been suspended through April 12, with plans to resume on April14. Students will be contacted by email as soon as new information comes available, Barton said.
The museum also has canceled its annual Stark County High School Exhibition set to begin on March 24, and the First Friday “Museum to Go” reception scheduled for April 3.
However, a new exhibit, “Reflections: The Artistic Spirit of Merv Corning” is set to open on April 28.
Pamela Barnes, a spokeswoman with the National Parks Service said on Friday that none of the department’s facilities have been closed, including the National First Ladies Library at 331 Market Ave. S.
”But that can change rapidly,“ she said.
Barnes recommends that people visit www.nps.gov before planning a visit to National Park Service sites.
The Greater Canton Amateur Sports Hall of fame at 1414 Market Ave. closed its doors after Canton Parks & Recreation announced it was suspending its public services.
New galleries are open
At the Massillon Museum, Executive Director Alex Coon said the museum will remain closed until April 3.
Coon said the MassMu’s popular “Brown Bag Lunch“ featuring Al Albacete on March 24 will be transitioned to “a virtual presentation.”
“MCTV will air it at the regularly scheduled time of noon on Tuesday, March 24, and it will be available online at that time for viewing as well (and then archived so anyone can view the presentation at any time),” Coon said. “Our NEA Big Read kickoff scheduled for April 4 will still provide the opportunity for visitors to retrieve their free copies of Roz Chast's ’Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?’ and new exhibits slated to open that day are still schedule to do so; but we won't have an event, per se, where people are gathered for announcements, or in a single room.”
Coon said MassMu also has extended its resources and availability to Stark County educators for virtual tours and virtual meetings with museum staff during the shift to online teaching.
“And we have directed them to our 200-plus virtual galleries of artifacts and archives from our collections that live online as well,” she said. “Maintaining access to information is something the museum is committed to doing, but keeping in mind the safety and well-being of our patrons, volunteers, and staff is the priority.”
For more information, visit the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum website at www.mckmuseum.org and on social media.
For more information about the Canton Museum of Art, visit www.cantonart.org
Reach the Massillon Museum’s website at www.massillonmuseum.org