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Art Institute To Reopen Thursday July 30, Field Museum Reopening To Members This Friday

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Art Institute of Chicago announced Wednesday that it will reopen to the public on Thursday, July 30, offering free admission for Illinois residents through Monday, Aug. 3.

Meanwhile, the Field Museum will be reopening to members this coming Friday and to the general public on Friday, July 24.

"El Greco: Ambition and Defiance," which had been on exhibition for one week before the museum closed for the coronavirus pandemic, will remain in place until Oct. 19.

The museum's initial opening hours will be noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, with the first hour of each day reserved for members.

The Art Institute said has put operational changes into place amid the pandemic, and it will continue to do so.

Visitors will need to buy tickets – including reserving free tickets – through the museum's website. They will also need to wear facial coverings, and maintain social distancing from people outside individual groups.

Other exhibits have also been rescheduled and extended – including "Malangatana: Mozambique Modern," "Bauhaus Chicago: Design in the City," "Pure Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection," and "Noda Tetsuya: My Life in Print." "Monet and Chicago" will open on Sept. 3.

At the Field Museum, there will also be new rules in place for the pandemic. Attendance will be capped at 25 percent of the museum's full capacity, floor markers will be set up for social distancing, one-way paths will be set up to guide foot traffic, and all visitors and staff will need to wear masks inside the building.

The Field Museum has also added 144 new hand sanitizing stations and is selling masks for those who do not have their own. Housekeeping staff will increase the amount of cleaning they do, and the museum will close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for deep cleaning. High-touch areas such as the Crown Family Lab and touchscreen interactives will not be available for now, and galleries that are too small for social distancing will be closed.

"The Field Museum's mission is to build a brighter future rich in nature and culture, and we've spent the past few months figuring out how we can continue to share the world with our visitors while keeping everyone safe," says Ray DeThorne, the museum's chief marketing officer, said in a news release late last week. "People haven't been able to get out and travel lately, but when you come to the museum, you can explore ancient Egypt, watch a traditional Chinese shadow puppet show, stand underneath the world's largest dinosaur, and come face to face with the world's best-preserved T. rex. These are the kinds of experiences you can't get from home. And the museum is so big, visitors can escape the summer heat and explore while still social distancing."

The Museum of Contemporary Art is also reopening on Friday, July 24, with free admission through August. It will only be open initially on Fridays and weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the first hour of the day set aside for seniors and people at high risks.

Visitors are advised to make reservations online.

Among the offerings at the MCA are an exhibition on Chicago filmmaker Deborah Stratman's film "The Illinois Parables" with a re-creation of Studs Terkel's WFMT studio and some of his interviews, and "Just Connect," an exhibition on how the pandemic has made us all more aware of our desire to connect.

Among other Chicago museums, the Shedd Aquarium reopened on July 3.

The Museum of Science and Industry has not yet announced a reopening date. At last report, the museum was watching the guidelines from the city and state, as well as evaluating how to open as safely as possible.

The Adler Planetarium is not expected to reopen until Phase 5 of Gov. JB Pritzker's reopening plan, which will not come until a vaccine, an effective treatment, or "the elimination of new cases over a sustained period of time."

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