Eiteljorg Museum to welcome back guests June 20

Joey Amato | June 16, 2020

Three months after it closed to visitors due to the pandemic, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art plans to reopen for business on Saturday, June 20.

The first week, June 20 to June 26, will be a members appreciation week as the Eiteljorg will be open for its museum members only. Then starting Saturday June 27, the museum will be open to the general public with regular admission. As a thank-you for the public’s patience, the Eiteljorg has extended popular exhibitions that were interrupted by the pandemic, so that visitors can catch up on what they missed.

“We greatly appreciate the understanding of our members and supporters during the temporary closure, and are grateful for the way they embraced our interactive online website, Eiteljorg.org/AtHome. Now we are looking forward to welcoming back our visitors in person,” Eiteljorg Museum President and CEO John Vanausdall said.

“The Eiteljorg is a calming, open and clean space. Once people can make plans to visit cultural attractions again, we hope they will visit the Eiteljorg Museum first – and when here, experience the exhibit Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories first,” Vanausdall added.

Three exhibitions originally scheduled to close during the summer will remain open for several additional months at the Eiteljorg, so that more visitors can experience them:

  • A fascinating show that explores quilts as a storytelling medium, Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories, and that includes works by African American, Native American and Latino American women, will remain open through Jan. 3, 2021, as part of the museum’s commitment to cultural diversity.
  • An exhibition of bronze sculptures by a renowned Native American artist who is blind, Please Touch: The Sculptures of Michael Naranjo, will remain open through Feb. 9, 2021.
  • A traveling exhibition on loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, For A Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw, will be open through Aug. 9, 2020. It features photographs by a Kiowa photographer of his family and community.

Visitors returning to the Eiteljorg will encounter several new safety procedures that will be available at Eiteljorg.org/Reopen:

  • Upon entering the building, guests are required to wear face masks and will receive a non-invasive temperature check.
  • Guests must follow the blue “permission lines” marked on the floor to maintain social distancing around exhibits and follow other directions of museum staff.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are located around the building.
  • Seating capacity is reduced in the Museum Café so that customer tables can be spaced at appropriate distances.

Visitors also are encouraged to order their tickets online at www.eiteljorg.org in advance of their visit, and thus avoid having to make an in-person counter purchase.

“I have had the privilege of advising the Eiteljorg throughout the course of this unprecedented health crisis concerning the public health aspects of closing, reopening and safe institutional practices.  In reviewing the institution’s reopening plan, I am very pleased with its detailed, thorough and thoughtful design based on the best available public health advice from national and state experts,” said Dr. Richard Feldman, M.D., who is an Eiteljorg Board member, family physician and former Indiana State Health Commissioner. “I believe that visitors to the museum will find the very safest environment possible. This is dependent in part, of course, on the visiting public being mindful of protocols put in place and exercising appropriate hand sanitation, mask-wearing and social distancing,” Dr. Feldman said.

The Eiteljorg had been closed to visitors since March 17, when state and local authorities issued orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. While most Eiteljorg employees worked remotely, a few remained in the museum to protect the art collections and building. During the closure, museum staff launched an enhanced web page featuring online interactive content about exhibits and programs, including curator videos and educational activities, posted at Eiteljorg.org/AtHome. To prepare for welcoming guests again, Eiteljorg facilities employees gave the building an extremely thorough cleaning, performed needed maintenance to systems and installed fixtures – such as foot-pedal-opening doors – so visitors can minimize their contact with surfaces. And, the museum’s collections employees began an inventory of the Eiteljorg’s 9,000 objects.

Recent state and city government orders now allow the Eiteljorg and other Indiana museums to reopen at 50 percent capacity to visitors. The regular Eiteljorg Museum gallery spaces will be open, except for the R.B. Annis Western Family Experience on the basement canal level, which is temporarily closed. Beginning June 20, the Eiteljorg Museum’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; the museum café’s hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily with a limited menu through July 4. For details about the members-only promotion June 20-26, the public health protocols for entering and other details of reopening, visit Eiteljorg.org/Reopen or #EJReOpen on social media.

Image Captions
Interior view of the exhibition Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories, continuing through Jan. 3, 2021.
Image courtesy of Hadley Fruits Photography

Front exterior of the Eiteljorg Museum
Image courtesy Jessica Strickland Photography, 2013