By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – On Huntington Ave in Boston, 150 years of iconic and inspiring pieces of art are ready to show their faces and tell their stories again as the Museum of Fine Arts carefully and creatively climbs out from under the closures of COVID-19.

“We are excited there is a lot of anticipation but not nervous,” said Makeeba McCreary, Chief of Learning and Community Engagement at the MFA.

Through thoughtful planning, the MFA had to quickly shift gears and go virtual when the pandemic hit. Now amongst these exquisite pieces of art are COVID-19 safety signs.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston (WBZ-TV)

Now after being closed for six months the MFA is about to reopen, but things are a lot different from social distancing and face masks. Normally the MFA can host thousands of visitors a day. Now they’ll do 75 people an hour.

“They have to buy their ticket online before they come and they will do a health screening before entering the building,” McCreary said.

The museum is highlighting four main exhibits: Women Take the Floor, Black Histories, Black Futures, Art of America’s Wing and Murals for the Movement displayed out front aimed to spark conversations about ending violence and protecting black lives. They’ve also shifted on how the labels tell the stories behind the artwork.

It’s been a difficult time for the MFA financially and emotionally. COVID-19 forced them to cut 10 percent of their staff and 56 others took early retirement. “We will be a smaller museum when we open back up,” McCreary said.

But one with an even deeper message of hope and opportunity. “This is Black Histories, Black Futures it opened before we closed. Every entrance you come from you would walk through this exhibition. And incredibly important because it was young people who did it, young black and brown people who did it who otherwise didn’t come to the museum and now they consider it theirs they have ownership,” McCreary said.

Paul Burton

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