A Message from Museum Director John W. Smith

Art museums have always been places where communities gather, even during challenging and difficult times. When we made the unprecedented yet necessary decision to close the RISD Museum on March 13 until further notice, we did it with a heavy heart. 

During the closure, our focus is the security and safety of the collection and essential museum staff. These first days have been spent ensuring that museum staff have the tools they need to work remotely and those that must report in are well taken care of. For the duration of the semester, curators and staff will be supporting RISD faculty as classes move online. I am monitoring the ever-evolving national situation and making decisions in consultation with institutional leadership and our peer institutions. 

Museum members are a vital part of any museum ecosystem. Membership sustains our work and lets us know that our community is engaged with our work, activities, and our collection. We will be extending membership terms commensurate with the length of the closure for all members, including anyone who joins or renews online during this period.

The RISD Museum community is a diverse mix of individuals, families, students, educators, and community partners who all value the work of artists and designers and the stories they tell. Many of you will be looking for engaging experiences over the coming weeks on-line and in social media. Until we reopen, we will remind the public that the museum serves as a resource for research and personal enrichment with 80% of the collection available online. Our staff are hard at work, invigorated by the challenge to provide new ways to bring the museum to life beyond the walls we normally work within. Using the museum from home link provides resources for faculty and students. Connect through art anywhere offers activities and online learning for parents, teachers, and learners of all ages. In addition, visitors can explore the digital publication that accompanies Raid the Icebox Now, plus back issues of Manual.

We would love to hear from you. Please share any ideas about how we can serve you during this time at museum@risd.edu

John W. Smith, Director