By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – These days, even art plays it safe in the face of COVID-19.
To enforce mask wearing when The Fenimore Art Museum opens on Friday, July 3, Assistant Curator James Matson Photoshopped masks over several pieces from the museum’s collection, including “Laura Hall” (1808) by James Brown, and “Picking Flowers” (1840) by Samuel Miller.
“We took the artwork and utilized it for our signage,” said Todd Kenyon, communications director.
Following the announcement of the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday, June 28, The Farmers’ Museum, Fenimore Art Museum and Hyde Hall announced they would start their seasons: Hyde Hall on Wednesday, July 1; The Farmers’ and Fenimore on Friday, July 3.
“It’s been a long winter,” said Kenyon. “Everyone wants to come back, but they want to do it safely.”
Though the Fenimore postponed headlining exhibits “Keith Haring: Radiant Vision,” “Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams”, and “The World of Jan Brett” until 2020, the museum has lowered its prices to $10 for adults. “We’re hoping reduced pricing balances it out,” said Kenyon.
In the Clark Gallery, “Prismatic Beauty: American People and American Art” is on display, and
“Blue Gardens: Photographs by Gross and Daley” and
“Elegant Line/Powerful Shape: Elements of Native American Art” are also opening. Though tickets can be purchased at the door, the museum is limited to 150 visitors at a time, with strict limitations on how many can be in each gallery. “In the Clark and Thaw galleries, there can be 30 people at a time,” said Kenyon. “But smaller galleries, like the Cooper Room, have a maximum of six people.”
There is also one-way signage throughout the museum.
At The Farmers’ Museum, the entirety of the Historic Village has been closed, with only the main barn and the children’s barnyard open. “We will have interpreters in front of the Blacksmith’s shop, Pharmacy, Bump Tavern and Lippitt Homestead,” he said. “You just can’t go inside.”
With these limitations, Kenyon said, prices have been reduced to $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6-12, and under 6 free. “Even without these buildings open, we have a beautiful setting for people to come in,” he said.
Additionally, some virtual programming, including performances from the Glimmerglobe Theatre, will continue throughout the summer on the museums’ website and Facebook page.
At Hyde Hall, Executive Director Jonathan Maney used the closure to finish a series of renovations to the house, including restoring the maple stair hall in the West Wing, replacing the plaster in the third-floor billiards room, slipcovers for the high-back sofas and the ongoing restoration of the water closet, the first flush toilet west of the Hudson.
“Hyde Hall has more to offer than ever before,” said Maney. “Explore history with us and see fascinating things that you cannot find anywhere else. We are excited to share this beautiful New York treasure!”
Tickets are available by reservation only, with a maximum of six guests per tour, and masks must be worn throughout the tour.
“This is what we do,” said Kenyon. “But we want to do it safely.”