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Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg announces plans to reopen

The museum will reopen to members on Sept. 12. The museum store is now online only.
Blue light illuminates exterior hallways at the Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in downtown St. Petersburg.
Blue light illuminates exterior hallways at the Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in downtown St. Petersburg. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jun. 18, 2020
Updated Jun. 18, 2020

As many of Tampa Bay’s major museums have reopened or announced plans to in the near future, the Museum of Fine Arts is waiting a few more months.

A news release from the museum stated that it is “optimistically looking ahead in announcing our plan to reopen to MFA members on Sept. 12.”

The release continued: “This decision to remain closed in the coming months aligns with our stance to rely on data as the driving factor for our reopening plans, and considers the increasing rate of positive coronavirus cases in Pinellas County and the State of Florida. The health and safety of our staff and visitors remains paramount, as well as a commitment to do our part to help slow the spread of this serious virus within our community. As we continue to monitor state and local COVID-19 data, we will provide any updates to our reopening plans, including the reopening date to the general public.”

While the museum has been closed, staff has been performing deep cleanings, preparing safe reopening protocols and researching and writing about hundreds of works in the collection.

The museum also has a renovation underway and a plan to reinstall the permanent collection in an entirely new way.

One major change is that the museum store will remain closed permanently. Items will be available through an online store. As a result, two full-time employees have been laid off.

When it reopens, the museum will open the special exhibition “Derrick Adams: Buoyant.” This exhibition was originally planned to open in the summer. Adams explores the impact of popular culture on self-image and presents broader images of African American stories. The exhibition sees black men, women and children floating on brilliant blue water in colorful floats. It remains on display through Nov. 29.

The museum’s online programming, MFA From Home, will continue throughout the summer, as they “celebrate the power that art offers to inspire, delight and educate.”