Cincinnati Art Museum: A Cultural Escape During the Pandemic

When the forecast is for storms, it’s time for an indoor activity. But what’s a safe indoor adventure during the COVID-19 pandemic? I decided to check out the recently reopened Cincinnati Art Museum. 

The museum has added a good set of safety procedures. They ask guests to reserve a timed ticket online (they’re free!) to keep capacity limited. Once inside, guests are asked to wear a mask and maintain 6 feet of distance. There are signs to help direct people and remind everyone about the rules, along with some hand sanitizer stations. They also have a touchless temperature check before entry via a thermal camera setup.

Overall, I felt safe and comfortable checking out the museum. There’s plenty of room to spread out in most of the galleries, and a few cramped areas like stairs were marked for one-way traffic. Some things like interactive exhibits were closed—not a big deal for adult visitors. I saw a handful of non-mask-wearers (SIGH), but I’d say about 95% of people stuck to the rules.

For someone who’s only seen the inside of my home and Kroger’s over the past 3 months, it was a dream!  I had forgotten what it felt like to enjoy a beautiful indoor space. I felt a surreal sense of freedom.

Oh, and there’s great art too. 

The museum’s collection has a little bit of everything, from the ancient world to modern art. We started with some ancient art from Egypt and the Greek world. Yes, you can see a mummy and a vase with scenes of Hercules right here in Cincinnati. The collection of Islamic art is even better–don’t miss the Damascus Room!

My favorite is the collection of paintings from the European masters (Hi, history nerd here). You can step inside a medieval church and see saints painted 2D-style with their golden halos. Then you see some of the Renaissance masters like Botticelli and Titian who got the hang of painting the human form with realistic perspective. After that, the paintings really come to life—portraits, still lifes, and lively scenes by the Baroque era artists who captured the moment down to the tiny details. Of course, the museum has more galleries going on through history. There’s a Van Gogh and a Monet…you get the idea.

The museum’s collection of all things Cincinnati is impressive too. They have an exhibit of ceramic masterpieces from Rookwood Pottery, including originals from founder and successful business owner Maria Longworth Storer. You’ll find lots of other pieces from paintings to furniture that tell the history of the city. Connecting everything to the community makes for a memorable visit, even if you’re not normally an art lover.

If seeing wonderful artwork and learning something in the process sounds like fun, take a look at the Cincinnati Art Museum. They’re doing a great job of implementing all the safety measures we need in the wake of COVID-19 and still offering a top-notch experience.


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