Beginning today, March 13, both the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem and the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester have closed to the public due to safety concerns about the novel COVID-19 virus. Both institutions are focused on protecting the well-being of their staff members and visitors, and on preventing the spread of the virus.
The PEM has announced a closure until further notice, with all events either cancelled or postponed through April 30.
The Cape Ann Museum announced a temporary closure and postponing of events through at least March 27. They will also be postponing the opening of their new campus, Cape Ann Museum Green and Collections Center, which was originally scheduled for June 20. A new date has not yet been solidified.
Cape Ann Museum director, Oliver Barker, said in a statement Thursday: “In consultation with the Museum’s Board of Directors, we feel that temporary closure of the Museum provides important protection for the health and well-being of Museum staff, volunteers, and visitors, as well as the wider community. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.”
“The Cape Ann Museum will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely. During this time of closure, we will issue regular email updates as well as generating new virtual content from our Education and Curatorial Departments.”
The PEM released the following statement on their website: “Museum security and climate systems will be fully maintained throughout the closure, ensuring the safety of all works of art in our buildings. Comprehensive staffing and operational plans are being developed. All staff members continue to receive pay and benefits.”
“For an organization founded on global connections and centered on human interactions, we feel the impact of this moment acutely. Museums, as always, provide light and inspiration during challenging times. We will be creative in maintaining PEM’s relationship with you in this time of crisis.”
These closing announcements came amid other closures of Boston-area cultural institutions, like the Museum of Fine Arts, the Harvard Art Museums, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which all released a joint statement Thursday saying they’ll be closed until further notice. Also joining these ranks are the New England Aquarium, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Museum of Science.