Harvard Art Museums To Reopen in September, Pilot ‘Free Sunday’ Initiative


More than a year after their abrupt closing, Harvard Art Museums plan to reopen Sept. 4 at reduced capacity and offer free admission on Sundays.

The Harvard Art Museums — which comprise three galleries and four research centers and hold one of the nation’s largest art collections — will offer Harvard students the opportunity to visit earlier, with a student-only day on the first day of classes on Sept. 1.

They will also host two preview days for members and supporters on Sept. 2 and 3, according to a Tuesday press release.

All visitors will be required to make reservations, which will be offered three weeks in advance beginning Aug. 20. The museums will also accept a “limited number” of daily walk-in visitors.


The “Free Sundays” initiative will begin upon the museums’ reopening — but only for those visitors who can secure an advance reservation.

This program adds to the Harvard Art Museums’ numerous free entry programs, which include complimentary admission for Harvard ID holders, students, members of the museums, minors, and all Cambridge residents.

The museums will host four new exhibitions this fall, according to the release.

The “Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970” exhibit, per the museums, will illuminate “the unexpected and often hidden consequences of militarism on habitats and well-being in the United States.”

Meanwhile, “States of Play: Prints from Rembrandt to Delsarte” will display the “revision, correction, and adjustment” that undergird finished artwork.

The “A Colloquium in the Visual Arts” installation will supplement the College’s Humanities 20: “A Colloquium in the Visual Arts” course, which aims to study the humanities using art and architecture across the world.

Finally, the museums’ “ReFrame” initiative will include a collection of installations meant to “inspire, challenge, and connect museumgoers” and make visitors consider “which artists, which groups of people, and which cultures are seen or unseen.”

In the press release, museums director Martha Tedeschi thanked the museums’ “talented and dedicated staff” for their work during the closure, and expressed “great joy” toward their reopening.

“We view the reopening as an opportunity to provide additional points of access that make it easier to visit,” she said. “Our online museum community grew exponentially while we were closed because of the pandemic, and we now want to turn our attention to extending the warmest possible invitation to every visitor to the museums, whether new or returning.”

—Staff writer James R. Jolin can be reached at