KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been a difficult year for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
"It’s been a very trying time, just like for everyone in Kansas City and in the nation and around the world, because of the uncertainty of the times," museum director Julián Zugazagoitia said.
With the doors closed since March and the galleries empty of guests, it’s taken a toll.
"It’s still very trying times, I cannot underscore that, it’s still a very economically difficult situation," Zugazagoitia said.
Even the museum's traveling exhibition schedule was thrown off during the closure.
"As we closed the museum, we had an exhibition of Egyptian art that had come from Italy that was going to another location, because all international travel and all the security around it stopped," Zugazagoitia said.
The Nelson-Atkins quickly found a digital canvas to try and get by.
"Our team pivoted quickly to offerings on the website, so NelsonAtkins.org saw a surge of a lot of programming for the stay-at-home museum," Zugazagoitia said.
That virtual presence could remain in place when the pandemic ends.
"The online programming has been surprisingly well-received. With the enormous offer today, everyone does online offerings, it’s great to see following for our activities, people are seeing. Analytics give us good indications that it’s something that might be here to stay," the director explained.
There’s still new and timely work to be seen as the Sept.12 reopening date quickly approaches.
"A great exhibition from a time period of the 60s of Civil Rights, that makes us think of today from a perspective that is very unique, that of a figure like Muhammad Ali," Zugazagoitia explained.
The rest of the art is ready to come back to life for newcomers, and returning guests.
"There’s something for everyone in this museum, we have great collections of Native American art, Chinese art, Japanese galleries are fantastic, it’s an opportunity to come and enjoy what you missed about the Nelson-Atkins," Zugazagoitia said.