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The de Young Museum Will Reopen to the Public on Sept. 25

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Nickolas Muray, "Frida with Olmeca Figurine, Coyoacán," 1939. (Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

After six months—or six lifetimes, depending on your method of counting—the de Young Museum will reopen to the public on Friday, Sept. 25. (Members can sneak in a few days early, starting Sept. 22.) The Legion of Honor plans to open its doors in mid-October, with the exact date yet to be determined.

The announcement comes just a few days after Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health announced the latest phase of reopenings: indoor activity at nail salons, gyms, massage services, tattoo shops and barber shops. That same briefing included museums, which will be allowed to reopen starting Sept. 21 after submitting health and safety plans.

In a press release issued Monday, museum director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell emphasized the de Young and Legion of Honor’s “airy galleries.” New health and safety measures based on city guidelines include a 25% visitor capacity and a requirement that staff and adult visitors wear face coverings at all times. Spaces where proper distancing cannot be maintained will remain closed, including the de Young’s observation tower, the de Youngsters Studio and coat checks. The museum promises an increase in cleaning routines and sanitizing stations throughout the building.

Installation view of ‘Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving’ at the de Young museum in San Francisco. (Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; photo by Gary Sexton)

In addition to all your permanent collection favorites, the de Young will reopen with a show that holds possibly more significance now than it did way back in February: Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI. Brand new to visitors is a show hung during shelter in place, the long-awaited Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, an exhibition of the artist’s personal items borrowed from La Casa Azul, Kahlo’s home and the site of Museo Frida Kahlo, where the show originated.

Now, ticketing: The museum recommends reserving your tickets in advance for a timed slot (once you’re in, you’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like). But a limited number of tickets will also be available in person at the museum.


In addition to continuing their Free Saturdays program, which guarantees free admission to Bay Area residents (Sept. 26, mark your calendars), the de Young will offer free general admission to essential workers through December 2021. Tickets to special exhibitions, like Frida Kahlo, will be offered to essential workers at a “substantial discount.” This discount can be redeemed at the museum with a work badge.

The de Young will be the first San Francisco museum to reopen following city-mandated closures in mid-March. The Asian Art Museum is currently the only other major institution with a date set for reopening (pending city approval): it plans to welcome visitors back starting Oct. 1.

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