The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas became the first major American museum to reopen earlier this week. Under the state government’s orders, the museum was allowed to open at 25% capacity with strict hygiene guidelines, including mandatory masks and temperature checks. As reported by the New York Times, first in the socially-distant line was nurse Joan Laughlin, who had come to see one of the museum’s current exhibitions, ‘Glory of Spain: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library’.
The traveling exhibition focuses on the art of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines, and spans more than 4000 years. The 200 objects on loan from the Hispanic Society of America include paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, maps, textiles, porcelains and ceramics, and metalwork and jewelry. The exhibition is organized chronologically into six groups: Antiquity in Spain, Medieval Spain, Golden Age Spain, Viceregal and 19th-Century Latin America, Enlightenment in Spain, and Modern Spain.
This may mark the beginning of the post-lockdown era for cultural institutions in Europe. Museums in Madrid and Barcelona were also allowed to open at limited capacity from May 25th, and French museums will follow at the beginning of next week.