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Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
Photograph: © Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Architecture John Londono

Museums can open up everywhere in Quebec this Friday—but Montreal museums won't open immediately

It's good news for some of the cultural sector in the province, but visitors won't recognize the new experience.

By JP Karwacki
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Right before the weekend of May 22 began—the weekend when Montreal parks braced for impact after gatherings of 10 people from a maximum of 3 households was permitted—the Quebec Culture Minister Nathalie Roy announced the beginning salvo of cultural reopenings in the province: This Friday, May 29, museums, libraries and drive-in cinemas will be permitted to reopen.

Montrealers and Quebeckers across the province won't recognize the experience in any one of these types of cultural offerings, however. Museums and libraries are subject to the same guidelines from the province's organization for workplace safety, the CNESST: Essentially, there will be a diminishing of staff on hand and access to resources will be limited.

For museums, while they will be permitted to reopen on Friday, don't expect everyone to fling their doors open at the same time. The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), for example, has announced that it has plans to open some time in June.

"I want to assure the public that the Musée is going to great lengths to deploy all necessary measures to ensure the security of our visitors and our employees, while maintaining a harmonious experience," said the museum's director and head curator John Zeppetelli. "Museums have large enough spaces to accommodate social distancing, which will contribute to granting visitors the peace of mind to contemplate and enjoy a better museum experience."

As for other museums in Montreal? The McCord Museum will reopen on June 23, and the Stewart Museum has set its opening date for June 25. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has withheld announcing a reopening date, but the director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Nathalie Bondil has announced that the first exhibit will be the temporary Egyptian mummies installation in an interview with the CBC.

Over at the Montreal Holocaust Museum, they plan to keep offering online visits if people want to browse from home, even after this Friday's permission for reopening. 

Finally, the Espace Pour La Vie collection of museums—namely the Montreal Botanical Gardens and planetarium—do not have a set date for reopening.

An earlier version of this article noted that the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal would open on May 29—this was inaccurate and the article has been updated to reflect that. We apologize for the error.

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