Twin Cities Museums Are Finally Reopening

Beat the heat at the Walker, Bell Museum, Mia, and more

After closing in mid-March due to Covid-19, the Walker Art Center has now reopened to the public. Things are a little different, of course.

When we visited during last week’s member preview, we reserved timed tickets online. Temporary gallery hours are Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon are reserved for at-risk visitors. Guests and workers are required to wear masks; the front desk folks are stationed behind plexiglass; and there is hand sanitizer on every floor. The Walker Shop and on-site restaurant Esker Grove have both reopened; patio seating is available at the latter (reservations recommended) or you can order takeout and have a picnic in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or on the grassy hill to the side of the museum.

The Walker’s current exhibitions — “Five Ways In: Themes from the Collection,” “An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960-2018,” and “The Expressionist Figure: The Miriam and Erwin Kelen Collection of Drawings” — were all on view before the pandemic struck. The last one, which runs through October 18, is terrific: a grab bag of darkly fantastical, erotic, and satirical portraiture featuring the likes of Otto Dix, Elizabeth Peyton, Kara Walker, René Magritte, Marlene Dumas, David Hockney, Chuck Close, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and the Twin Cities’ own Rowan Pope.

The Walker Cinema is still closed but continues to host online programs, including film retrospectives and live artist talks. Of special note is its new “Living Collections Catalogue—Creative Black Music at the Walker: Selections from the Archives,” focusing on influential black artists (Betty Carter, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Wadada Leo Smith, etc.) who played the Walker in the 1960s and ‘70s.

In other museum news, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Bell Museum both reopened on July 16; The Museum of Russian Art, The Bakken Museum, The Somali Museum, and the Hmong Cultural Center were already up and running. The Minnesota Children’s Museum will reopen August 1. Alas, other local institutions — including the Weismann Art Museum, American Swedish Institute, Pavek Museum, Minnesota History Center, and the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum — remain temporarily closed.

Please note: Many of the re-opened museums are requiring advance reservations and/or timed tickets. Always check the website before heading out.