Monte Dolack's big show is open again.
More than two months after closing due to concerns over COVID-19, the Montana Museum of Art and Culture unlocked its gallery doors on Tuesday, with new guidelines on the number of visitors and other safety precautions.
The MMAC's featured exhibition, almost three years in the making and spanning both of its galleries in the PAR/TV Building, is "Monte Dolack: The Artist's Nature," an examination of the Montana native and Missoula resident's relationship and advocacy for the outdoors over several decades of work, from the surrealistic and sometimes playful style to more contemplative landscapes and cautionary environmental-themed paintings.
It opened in mid-January with expectations that it would be one of the MMAC's most popular shows in recent memory, and timed to mark the museum's 125th anniversary. The museum had to close in March when concerns about the novel coronavirus shuttered or canceled public events at UM.
"We were very disappointed having to close the Dolack exhibition down given how popular the artist is and how many people wanted to see the show," said Rafael Chacón, the MMAC's director. They extended the show through Aug. 29 hoping that more people would have the opportunity as the situation with COVID-19 progresses.
Museums can reopen per the governor's office starting last Friday. With enhanced safety precautions approved by the UM administration, the MMAC is moving ahead, making it the first art museum in Missoula to reopen. (The Missoula Art Museum is working on its plans.)
Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Here are the new safety guidelines:
- Fifty percent capacity.
- Groups of under 10 people only.
- 6 feet of social distancing between visitors.
- Masks are required and will be on hand if people don't bring their own.
- Any guests, staff or employees who exhibit symptoms or feel ill are asked to stay home. Any individuals with health problems are also asked not to come to the museum.
- Staff will sanitize frequently touched surfaces and guests will be reminded not to touch the art or display cases.
- Guests will need to sign in to help with contact tracing in case a staff member or volunteer becomes sick.
- Docent tours are still off the table. Special tours can be made by appointment, led by a staff guide and limited to 10 people maximum.