With many American institutions weighing how long they can remain open while the coronavirus continues to spread, four major Boston-area museums closed on Thursday. The Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston have all shuttered. No reopening date for any of the institutions was immediately provided.
In a statement signed by their directors—Martha Tedeschi, Jill Medvedow, Peggy Fogelman, and Matthew Teitelbaum, respectively—the museums’ leaders wrote, “We feel it is our ethical responsibility to put the common good ahead of any one individual or institution.”
They continued, “We know we are stronger together. We look forward to reopening when it is safe for the public, staff and volunteers.”
As of Wednesday, there were 95 cases of the coronavirus in Boston. Among the schools that closed there was Harvard University, which announced that, starting on March 15, students must leave campus, causing many to scramble to find ways of getting home.
The Boston closures come as major museums around the world announce temporary closures while their employees brace for the pandemic’s spread. Earlier today, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York became the first major American institution to announce such plans when it said it would close all three of its locations starting on Friday. Meanwhile, in Europe, some of the world’s biggest and most famous institutions have made similar steps, with the Prado in Madrid and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam also planning closures.