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These Tucson museums have re-opened following months of coronavirus closures

These Tucson museums have re-opened following months of coronavirus closures

  • Updated

Tucson museums have slowly been welcoming guests back following coronavirus closures that began in March.

The latest to reopen is the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block on July 30. The new Kasser Family Wing of Latin American Art is also making its debut along with a renovated outdoor plaza and sculpture garden.

The museum, 140 N. Main Ave., is open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reserved timed tickets can be purchased online and there will be limited daily walk-in tickets available.

TMA features permanent and traveling exhibitions of modern and contemporary, Native American, American West, Latin American, art of the Ancient Americas, European and Asian art.

The new 6,000-square-foot Kasser Family Wing is two years in the making.

Three galleries highlight pre-Columbian works from the museum’s permanent collection alongside long-term loans from the I. Michael Kasser and Paul L. and Alice C. Baker collections.

Another gallery is dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art, including the debut of new acquisitions by Enrique Martínez Celaya, Monica Aissa Martinez, Patrick Martinez and Pedro Tagliafico.

Spanish Colonial art is the focus of another gallery with works from Latin America and the Southwestern United States created in the 17th through 19th centuries.

Other new permanent collections opening up at TMA include:

  • For the Birds: Avian Works on Paper;
  • From the TMA Permanent Collection, Mirle E. Freel, Jr.;
  • Modern Art from the TMA Permanent Collection.

For more information on coronavirus-related measures at TMA and to purchase tickets, go to tucne.ws/tmac19.

The J. Knox Corbett House, La Casa Cordova, Alice Chaiten Baker Center for Art Education and the TMALearn! Creative Space will remain closed through the end of 2020.

Here are other Tucson-area museums to check out:

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive

If you love all things teeny, head to the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

The enchanting space, designed to transport visitors to different eras through various collections, reopened July 29.

Current exhibitions include Fanciful Fairy Houses by Kristy Thomas; Behold the Big Top: Jean LeRoy’s Circus Parade; 19th Century Ladies’ Fashion, and more.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Timed tickets are required for entry and the number of guests are limited at any given time to accommodate physical distancing.

For the time being, the Mini Theater and high-touch gallery interactives and resources have been removed.

To learn more about COVID-19 measures at the Museum of Miniatures and to purchase tickets, go to tucne.ws/mtmc19

Tucson Botanical Gardens

2150 N. Alvernon Way

Tucson Botanical Gardens is back after months of bringing the garden experience to Tucsonans virtually.

The Botanical Gardens reopened July 9 with coronavirus protocols but with the same sense of tranquility that could be found within its gates before COVID-19 hit.

“Nature has a way of healing and we are honored to reopen our gardens as a place that provides healing, enjoyment, and inspiration,” said TBG Executive Director Michelle Conklin.

It’s open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., however indoor gallery spaces and the Cox Butterfly & Orchid Pavilion are closed. Guests can enjoy the butterflies through a viewing window.

As is the case with most public spaces, the number of guests will be limited.

Tucson Botanical Gardens works to connect people with plants and nature through art, science, history and culture.

For more information on measures in place at TBG, go to tucsonbotanical.org/covid-19-faqs.

Ignite Sign Art Museum

331 S. Olsen Ave.

Take a trip through Tucson history in the form of neon, hand-painted, gold leaf and tin signage at Ignite.

Ignite has featured signs from Molina’s Midway, the popular restaurant that closed in 2018 after more than 60 years in business; remnants of the De Anza Drive-In movie theater; and a sign for Jerry’s Lee Ho Market, which closed years ago.

A new soda display is up for viewing as is other new signage.

On Saturday afternoons, you can catch a neon bending demonstration.

Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, go to ignitemuseum.com.

Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum

196 N. Court Ave.

Learn about life as early Tucsonans would have lived it at Presidio Museum.

Visitors can enjoy self-guided tours with no admission fee through Aug. 29. Hours are Thursday through Saturday, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

New to the museum is Soledad’s Garden, which features plantings and interpretive signage tied to the story of Soledad Jacome, an 1860s owner and resident of the Sonoran row house that is now the Presidio Museum gift shop. Pack dinner and a blanket to enjoy a picnic on the museum grounds.

The museum has also set up a temporary altar to honor the late Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías.

Elías died March 28 but a public memorial event wasn’t held due to COVID-19. In lieu of a memorial, the altar provides a chance to mourn and bring ofrendas while socially distancing.

The altar will stay up through Dia de los Muertos and will be taken down Nov. 8. While admission is free, donations are accepted. For more information, including coronavirus measures, visit tucsonpresidio.com.

Pima Air & Space Museum

6000 E. Valencia Road

Home to hundreds of historical aircraft, the Pima Air & Space Museum reopened June 15.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with the last admission at 1 p.m.

The off-site boneyard bus tour, however, is not running.

For more information on measures in place, go to pimaair.org.

What’s closed

The Arizona History Museum reopened in mid-June before closing its doors again on June 30 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases statewide.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, the Children’s Museum Tucson, and Tohono Chul have not physically welcomed guests back since closing in March.

Most shuttered museums, and many that have reopened, continue to offer virtual experiences for community members who are not yet ready to go out in public.

Information on virtual offerings, as well as reopening updates, can be found on their websites and social media.

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