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Jewel City reopens cultural gem

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — A cultural staple for the Jewel City is finally reopening but with some changes for the safety of guests.

After a three month hiatus, the Huntington Museum of Art is reopening its doors to the public.

“We’re finally open after months of being off and we’re excited because again we’ve got some of our greatest collections up right now.” 

Chris Hatten, Senior Curator for the Huntington Museum of Art

Museum officials are optimistic about the return to normalcy, despite challenges posed during the pandemic.

“We’re hoping! We’re hoping for good crowds today and as the shows go on,” Hatten said.

A boon to the city’s cultural draw for professionals and tourists, Executive Director Geoffrey Fleming says it’s good to see the museum come alive again.

“Well, it was very strange.  We closed in late March per the government’s orders and we took all the art down and it was strange to be here with our skeleton crew and just walk through the dark, empty galleries.” 

Geoffrey Fleming, Executive Director of the Huntington Museum of Art

After spending a month restoring exhibits, the Huntington Museum of Art was ready for business again.

Museum officials are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of their guests, including implementing an additional hour of sanitation everyday at noon.

Fleming says the museum is adopting additional measures to meet safety guidelines.

“We’re doing a one-way route through the museum to control crowds; we’re also doing free ticketing through EventBrite to keep the numbers down; there’s sanitizing stations located in the museum and we’ll also be closing the day everyday to sanitize.” 

Geoffrey Fleming, Executive Director of the Huntington Museum of Art

The Huntington Museum of Art is featuring several new exhibits — including the oldest known painting of Huntington, among others.

The museum also features a conservatory of exotic plants and a koi pond.

“I don’t know if people in Huntington realize what a great museum…I mean, I think they do, they’re proud of it, but they need to come up here too and see some of the treasures we’ve accumulated over the years.” 

Chris Hatten, Senior Curator for the Huntington Museum of Art

For free tickets, guests must reserve a time slot so the museum can keep occupancy numbers low. Those tickets can be found here.

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