Lorna Johnson, Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery executive director, stands next to a painting by David More, which is part of his Shore Figures: Sylvan Lake collection. The attraction reopened its doors Thursday after being closed due to COVID-19. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery re-opens with display by Benalto artist

A display by Benalto artist David More showcases Sylvan Lake in the summertime

Central Albertans can now take in some history and culture at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery.

“It’s great to be open again. It has been such a disjointed time while we were closed,” executive director Lorna Johnson said Thursday, when the facility was reopened after being closed due to COVID-19.

“When we were closed, we spent a lot of time working on the collection, and that was good, because we could spread things out and get caught up. But we’re so visitor focused – without them, it kind of feels hollow.”

There are precautions in place, including hand sanitizer stations, a one-way path through the exhibition and a 50-person limit in the building, Johnson said, adding guests are asked to book a visit time online.

“When we’re running our summer day camps, that takes up 20 of the 50 already, and then staff takes up another 10. We want to make sure we have sufficient space for everybody,” she said.

“The challenge we had is that when we last redesigned our exhibits, we had a lot of hands-on things. Now, we’re back to the old-fashioned museum, where you can’t touch anything.”

Johnson said it’s relieving to be open again.

“It seemed like the regulations were changing almost daily too, so we would scramble and say, ‘OK how are we going to do that?’ And then it would change,” she said.

“I think we’ve got a good handle on it now. The critical thing is social distancing. If the building is busy, (staff) will all wear masks when we’re interacting with the public.”

Johnson said the MAG did a “soft opening” on June 15.

“We just needed to get our processes in place and get ready. We’ve had staff in the building since the 15th. We’ve had our summer staff in, and summer day camps start next week – we’ve had to take a number of precautions there,” she said.

There is currently an exhibit on display featuring the community’s response to COVID-19, including the stories of the Troubled Monk brewery, Curtis Wazny, Christine Engel, Marnie Blair and Erin Boake.

Also on display is Benalto artist David More’s Shore Figures: Sylvan Lake’ collection, which features large paintings aiming to capture Sylvan Lake in the summertime.

To book a visit, or for more information, go to www.reddeermuseum.com.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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