All of the lost-looking tourists outside the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesdays, rejoice! The museum has announced that it will be staying open seven days a week starting in May of 2013. Presumably, MoMA will still take a few holidays off, putting it a little below the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which is now open 365 days a year.
MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry told the New York Times a fact that anyone who has been to the museum can attest to: Their galleries are “pretty close to being maxed out.” The museum currently gets around 3 million visitors a year, up from 1.5 million in 2004 when its midtown renovation first opened. Hopefully, the increased opening time will decrease pressure on staff and make for slightly better viewing experiences in the galleries. Of course, it could also just allow even more visitors to gawk in front of “Starry Night.”
Staying open seven days a week isn’t actually a new idea for MoMA — it was open every day from its founding in 1929 to 1975, when it started closing on Wednesdays to save on expenses. Other museums have also made the leap: The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is open every day, as are British institutions including the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, all of which are free of charge. The Museum of New Zealand has also been open every day since 1998. In New York, the Metropolitan museum is considering a similar policy change.
Lowry’s comments to the New York Times also provide an insight into MoMA’s visitor statistics. “It was always a myth that everyone really wanted late hours,” the director said. Friday nights, when admission is free from 4pm to 8pm, are the only really popular late evenings at the museum. Maybe they just need to throw more cocktail parties?
That one of New York’s art-historical icons will now be open every day is great, but we’re really pushing for a museum to stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Come on, convenience stores already do it! What about all those late-night Dali cravings?