According to the schedule for things opening up during NYC's phased reboot, museums are last on the list with little word yet on when they'll be in business—minus a couple of exceptions. The Metropolitan Museum Of Art just announced a tentative date for welcoming the public back (though The Met Breuer, alas, is closed for good); and now, the New-York Historical Society is following suit with a twist: Pending approval by the city, the NYHS will be reopening on August 14 with an exhibition mounted outdoors. Admission is free, and social distancing measures (masks are required) will be in place.
"Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine" will be installed in the museum’s rear courtyard, located at West 76th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, and as the title indicates, it takes a look back at NYC's (very) recent, traumatic past—which, as William Faulkner might have put it, isn't even past. But treating the present as history is a specialty for the NYHS, which put out a call to New Yorkers for personal artifacts related to the lockdown as early as April (it did something similar immediately after 9-11).
"Hope Wanted" is a joint project between writer and human-rights activist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman. At the height of the quarantine, they spent two days traveling the five boroughs to interview and take photos of ordinary New Yorkers living during an extraordinary moment. Some 50 images are being featured, along with audio recordings accessible by smartphone.
The Historical Society is schedule to officially reopen indoors September 11; until then, you can visit "Hope Wanted,” or check out a sample of what’s in the show below.
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