By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jul 06, 2020 at 2:29 PM

The Milwaukee Art Museum will reopen to the public on Thursday, July 16, complete with altered hours, new social distancing procedures, a reserved part of the day for high-risk visitors and a month of free admission for all.

The Milwaukee Art Museum originally closed on March 15 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new protocols at MAM – developed by the museum's internal task force, following local, national and global regulations and recommendations – include required masks for all staff members and visitors, hand sanitizers installed at entrances and throughout the museum, a dedicated path guiding guests through the first floor works and galleries, new heightened cleaning procedures and enforced social distancing measures. Those measures including shifting admission to reserved timed ticketing in order to keep transactions touch-free and maintain the number of people inside the museum at a particular time. Guests will now reserve admission for a particular time slot up to two weeks in advance at the museum's website

In addition to these measures, some notable museum features and elements have been adjusted or moved. The museum store has been temporarily relocated to Windhover Hall while the cafe will now offer solely pre-packaged meals and coffee to go – whether out to the refurnished and appropriately spaced outdoor patio or elsewhere. 

The most enjoyable change for the museum's impending phased reopening, however, is free admission for all guests through Aug. 16, thanks due to a gift courtesy of the Krei Family in Memory of Melinda.

"The Milwaukee Art Museum has been an institution that our family has greatly enjoyed over the years. Melinda’s love of the facility, the programs, and the staff made the Museum a special place for her and our family," said Ken Krei, in a release. "My son, Andrew, and I are especially proud to provide support at a time when the reopening can be an important part of Milwaukee’s emergence from the effects of the pandemic."

"Our valiant staff has been busy preparing for the reopening of the Museum, and we are all eager to welcome visitors back inside our galleries," added Marcelle Polednik, PhD, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director at the Milwaukee Art Museum, in the release. "The Krei family has made our reopening all the more special, and meaningful, with a gift, in memory of Melinda, that allows everyone to visit for free during the first month. Melinda was one of the museum’s greatest advocates, and her legacy is sharing the comfort and inspiration she found here with the community during this challenging time."

Reopening on July 16 to the public –and July 9-12 for members as a sneak preview – the Milwaukee Art Museum will now be open Thursdays through Sundays from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., with the new earlier 9:30 a.m. opening slot reserved for high-risk visitors and the last online ticket slot set at 3:30 p.m. For more information on tickets and new policies, as well as staying updated on future MAM reopening phases and expectations, visit the museum's website

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.