Akron Art Museum Prepares For Protesters As It Reopens

Protesters plan to demonstrate when the Akron Art Museum reopens to members Thursday and the general public a week later.
Protesters plan to demonstrate when the Akron Art Museum reopens to members Thursday and the general public a week later. [GOOGLE EARTH]
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The Akron Art Museum reopens to members Thursday and the general public one week later.

Interim Director Jon Fiume said the museum plans to provide visitors with a contactless experience. Visitors will have to register for timed entry to limit crowds and everyone must wear a mask.

 Interim Director Jon Fiume talks about changes visitors will see at the museum.

“We are of course increasing our cleaning and sanitizing procedures and processes. We also have signage throughout the museum that will guide visitors along a path that helps to ensure social distancing,” Fiume said.

The museum won’t be hosting any interactive exhibits as part of the effort to minimize contact and exposure. The museum gift shop and café will also remain closed.

When the museum does reopen Thursday, protesters are expected to be outside continuing calls for accountability. Former staff members described a hostile work culture and racist comments made by former director Mark Masuoka, who resigned under pressure in May

They want a public apology and resignations of staff and trustees.

Fiume said he welcomes the protests.

“The protesters have already stated that they are peaceful protests. We certainly understand their concerns. But with any event that is occurring at the museum, we’re obviously taking necessary precautions, working with the Akron police department and then of course providing our staff with guidance,” he said.

The accountability group started a petition on change.org seeking the removal of the museum board’s executive committee and so far have 643 signatures.  

In a July 10 letter to the museum community, board president Dr. Drew Engles apologized to staff and members but said he won’t step down because he wants to be part of the solution.

Copyright 2020 WKSU. To see more, visit WKSU.

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