Chamber Music Northwest Lincoln Recital Hall Portland State University Portland Oregon

A new round of shutdowns

As covid cases spike and Oregon orders new restrictions, museums are closing their doors again.


In line with Gov. Kate Brown’s new restrictions on public gatherings because of spiking coronavirus cases, several Oregon museums and arts spaces have announced temporary closures.

The shutdowns will last at least two weeks statewide, beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and running through Dec. 2. The restriction is four weeks in Multnomah County, which has seen a large surge in reported cases. And depending on how successful the restrictions are in curbing the effects of the pandemic, the shutdowns could be extended. As of Friday, Oregon has had almost 55,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and more than 750 deaths. “I want to be honest,” Brown said at a press conference on Friday, as reported in The Oregonian. “We are trying to stop this ferocious virus from spreading even more quickly and far and wide, and to save lives.”

Most cultural and gathering spots are affected by the freeze, from the Oregon Zoo to the Portland Japanese Garden to Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden and more. Metropolitan area public libraries are affected, too, as The Oregonian reports: For the Multnomah County system the freeze extends to sidewalk-holds pickup service and wireless printing – and don’t return the books you’ve checked out. Clackamas and Washington County systems are slightly different; check the link for details.

The best advice is, before you go anywhere, check to see if it’s open: If it’s public and it ordinarily draws a fair number of people, it’s probably shut down for now. Most museums have virtual exhibitions online that can be viewed during physical shutdowns. Check their web pages for details. Meanwhile, many private art galleries remain open by appointment. Again, check before you go.

What we know so far:

OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY: The museum, history center, and research library in downtown Portland’s Cultural District are closed “until further notice.” Several virtual exhibitions remain available.

OREGON MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY: The popular attraction on the riverfront in Southeast Portland is closed beginning Sunday, Nov. 15, “through the end of the Governor’s orders for Multnomah County.” Virtual programs continue.

Adam McKinney’s installation “Shelter in Space” continues to be viewable through Nov. 20 from the sidewalk outside the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. It was installed on the eve of the Jewish holiday Sukkot, and expands on the idea of temporary dwelling places. Photo: Mario Gallucci, Oct. 8, 2020.

OREGON JEWISH MUSEUM AND CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: The museum, on the North Park Blocks near Pacific Northwest College of Art and several major galleries, remains closed for an undetermined period. Virtual exhibits remain, as does Shelter in Place, a window exhibition viewable from the sidewalk, which will remain through Friday, Nov. 20.

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM and NORTHWEST FILM CENTER: The museum and its film center will be closed for four weeks beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18. Several virtual exhibitions, including the Robert Colescott retrospective Art and Race Matters and Volcano!, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruptions, remain available online. A full slate of film center screenings remains available online, and beginning Saturday, Nov. 21, the museum gift shop will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays with reduced capacity.

PORTLAND CHINATOWN MUSEUM. The museum of art, history, and culture will be closed for the four-week duration.

FIVE OAKS MUSEUM. The former Washington County Museum, on the Rock Creek campus of Portland Community College, remains closed for now. Its virtual exhibitions include Gender Euphoria: Contemporary Art Beyond the Binary; and DISplace, about the history and contemporary state of the Hawaiian diaspora in the Pacific Northwest, which Monica Salazar wrote about for ArtsWatch.

Lockwood Dennis (1937-2012), “Fruit Packing Sheds (Cashmere),” 1996, Edition of 48, color woodcut, 15 x 12 inches, Collection of the Lockwood Dennis Family. An exhibition of Dennis’s woodcuts, at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, is viewable online. Photo: Dale Peterson

HALLIE FORD MUSEUM OF ART: The Salem art museum has shut its doors and hopes to reopen Dec. 3. The closure cuts off in-person access to exhibits including Lockwood Dennis: Woodcuts, and delays the opening of Forgotten Stories: Northwest Public Art in the 1930s, which had been scheduled to open Nov. 28.

HIGH DESERT MUSEUM: Bend’s museum of art, history, wildlife, and culture will close for two weeks beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18. It will reopen “when the governor’s order is lifted.”

COOS ART MUSEUM: The art museum for the Southern Oregon Coast, in downtown Coos Bay, is closed for an undetermined period.

Bag & Baggage Danny and the Deep Blue Sea The Vault Theatre Hillsboro Oregon

JORDAN SCHNITZER MUSEUM OF ART/UNIVERSITY OF OREGON: The university’s art museum, which functions as the museum for Eugene/Springfield and their surrounding areas, has closed and is planning to reopen Dec. 4.

MUSEUM AT WARM SPRINGS. The central Oregon museum of the art and history of the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs will be closed through Dec. 2.

CHEHALEM CULTURAL CENTER. The Newberg arts center and its several gallery spaces will be closed for two weeks for two weeks in accordance with the state mandate. Youth programs will continue as scheduled; adult classes and events are postponed. Art in several current exhibitions can be viewed on the center’s web site.

FAVELL MUSEUM. Klamath Falls’ museum of Native American and Western art will close its exhibition spaces for two weeks in accordance with the state order. At least for now, its gift shop and retail gallery will remain open.

SCHNEIDER MUSEUM OF ART. The Ashland art museum, which is associated with Southern Oregon University, will be closed through Dec. 2, and longer if the state freeze is extended.

NEWPORT VISUAL ARTS CENTER. The recently reopened gallery and arts center at Nye Beach has closed again under a decision by the City of Newport that treats all public buildings the same for Covid purposes. The shutdown will continue at least through Dec. 2.

GRANTS PASS MUSEUM OF ART. The Southern Oregon museum, which had been exhibiting pieces from its permanent collection, including work by Betty LaDuke, has shut down. It hopes to reopen Dec. 3.

THE ARTS CENTER. Corvallis’s art and cultural center, which had been showing exhibitions of work by six Oregon women printmakers and photography of life in Oaxaca by Richard Keis, also has shut down at least until Dec. 2.

ART CENTER EAST. The Eastern Oregon arts and cultural center in La Grande also is closed for the duration of the freeze, with hopes to reopen Dec. 3.

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."


5 Responses

  1. Good morning,
    I’m concerned about Staye parks and campgrounds closing, these places ate where I park my home. Since the on set of covid, my family have been on our own to find a way that is right and humane to deal with mental health crisis that existed prior and worsened amid covid. Both my husband and daughter are schizophrenic, Prior to the March shutdown my husband started to exhibit un safe (negative symptoms of phycosos) My sons and I were left to deal with the aftermath alone. Do to many traumas set in motion by the symptoms of such a state of mind, we were homeless, living in our moterhome, and no where to park it legally over night…it had been well over a yr, almost two yrs now, will I need to worry about a safe legal place to sleep and care for my husband. Positive note: My sons now have an apartment they share as does my daughter. Long story there. Any who…

  2. I hike Pilot Butte everyday for serious health issues and when it was closed early this year I was hiking other trails but my health to a bad turn. Luckily it opened the day after my Doctor’s appointment. Do you think it will close again. Very Concerned. And I do take precautions like recommend

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