COVID cases close popular museums, push MLK celebrations online

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Last week, the Missouri Historical Society announced the closure of the Missouri History Museum and Soldiers Memorial until Feb. 1 due to COVID concerns.

“The number of COVID cases among our staff has increased. In general, a steep spike in individuals who have been exposed. And we want to be as safe as possible,” said Lindsay Newton, director of education and community engagement for the Missouri Historical Society.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is next week and the museum’s popular programs will be offered virtually.

“It’s so great to engage the community and to get everybody reflecting on the work of Dr. King and how we can make a difference,” Newton said.

Celebrate the legacy of Dr. King with virtual storytelling and youth activism workshops, even a yoga class. Families can also pick up free hands-on goodies this Saturday and Sunday.

“You don’t even have to park. You can just pull up and grab the craft kits off the table as well as book giveaways that are provided generously by Ready Readers,” Newton said.

It’s the same story at the Saint Louis Art Museum – closed until February 1.

“Having staffing shortages due to both the spike in the omicron variant and COVID cases as well as people needing to quarantine or isolate due to exposure,” said Amanda Thompson Rundahl, the director of learning and engagement at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

But you can still explore 5,000 years of art history via their online collections.

“We also have more than one hundred video-based or virtual programs that we have produced over the course of the past couple of years,” Rundahl said. “Those are for all ages and audiences.”

The art museum will also offer special Dr. King programming virtually. This year’s presentation is inspired by photographs of Dr. King by Pulitzer Prize–winner Moneta Sleet Jr.

“We’ve invited three Black performing artists, who are local performing artists from the St. Louis area, to showcase their creativity and talent. They’ve each created original performance works of art,” Rundahl said.

Both museums tout their COVID safety measures for keeping them open for so long and they can’t wait to welcome folks back in February.

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. events at the Missouri History Museum
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. programming at the Saint Louis Art Museum

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