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Cummer Museum preparing to reopen with safety protocols, gardens to open first

The Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens has been closed since March 13.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — As the world reopens in stages, peering inside of a place still closed is like peering into another world. 

The Cummer Musuem of Arts and Gardens closed their doors on March 13 and since then, only certain staff and security have been working in the building. It’s so quiet you can hear the birds chirping and bees buzzing in the gardens. The hallways filled with vibrant art is filled with silence.

“It seems alive to me," says interim director Kerrie Slattery. "The museum has always seemed like a person to me. Being here it seems a little lonely like it misses everybody. It seems too quiet, but you know there’s still enough action.”

Their gardener is working hard to keep the outdoor gardens groomed even though no one is here to see it. Behind the locked glass doors, the art is sitting unseen by the public.

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Slattery says they're planning on reopening soon, but the exhibits won't open right away. The gardens will open first jusdt in time for their Summer at the Cummer Friday night events.

“Our summer Fridays, we can’t have the games and some of the other activities we had but we still will have fun cocktails, food, music, homemade gelato," Slattery said. 

The flowers are blooming and there is plenty of room for social distancing. For now, you can tour the museum online.

“We pivoted very quickly to a virtual platform providing educational classes, videos lectures, guided tours of the museums, gardens. We did everything that we possible could online," said Slattery. 

Once the exhibits do reopen, you'll have to wear a mask, hand sanitizer stations will be placed around the museum, and there will be arrows telling you which direction to walk.

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“You’ll have to flow one way," Slattery explained. "Every square footage of every gallery has been calculated on how many people can be in it at a certain time.” 

She says they’ll schedule 2 hour tours with 30 minutes in-between for sanitizing. All tickets will be sold online. 

Summer camp is also going virtual this summer. Slattery says they hope this will make the camp more accessible to more local children. All you need is internet.