COVID-19 has taken its toll on a number of sectors, including tourism.
But for at least one Kingston museum and one local art gallery, that’s about to change.
The Union Gallery on Queen’s University campus is now open, and starting on Feb. 9, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes will be conducting tours.
At the Marine Museum, lessons will be learned about Kingston and the water that surrounds it.
“We’re the only museum in Canada representing the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes,” says Michelle Clarabut, the museum’s programs and communications manager.
“We’re very committed to being able to connect people with that natural, social, cultural heritage in any way that we can through programs, through exhibits, through guided tours and even on social media.”
Clarabut says there were a few people through the museum a few months ago, but when the doors open on Feb. 9, it will mark the first time since 2016 that the general public has been able to visit the Ontario Street facility.
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“For those who register for our pre-booked guided tour of our national historic site, the Kingston drydock, you’d be welcomed by a staff member who will take you on a 45-minute guided tour of the site,” says Clarabut.
“Weather permitting, we will start outside and come inside — at this time of year, likely the the whole inside. But we’ll take you through the entire historic site and see spaces that have not been seen in many, many years.”
While several of the galleries are empty now, that will change in the not-too-distant future.
Meanwhile, a handful of blocks away at the Union Gallery at Queen’s Stauffer Library, their doors are now open.
“It feels very exciting to be reopened,” says gallery director Carina Magazzeni.
“We’re really happy to welcome back students and the community into our space.”
Those with the not for profit, student-centred gallery had to pivot because of the pandemic, like many other businesses — and that’s not a bad thing.
“Going through multiple closures, it really encouraged us to shift the way we’re working,” says Magazzeni.
“Closing our doors doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not doing anything. We’re actually doing a lot more programming online. We have a lot of free online workshops and wellness programs.”
Those are just a couple of examples of pandemic pivots that may become permanent.