April 18, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of the Monhegan Museum,
With the arrival of spring in Maine our habitual cycle is to begin refreshing the museum and the Fitzgerald Studio, hanging exhibitions, looking forward to meeting summer residents as they arrive, and enjoying the social and cultural opportunities that the season provides. Even on Monhegan, where life moves at a slower pace, our lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this point it will come as no surprise that this international crisis has impacted our usual season on Monhegan. First and foremost, we are committed to doing whatever we can in our realm to ensure the safety of our visitors, docents, staff, and the greater Monhegan community, including all our members and supporters.
After much discussion, we have chosen to postpone the planned exhibition—Cape Ann and Monhegan Island Vistas – Contrasted New England Art Colonies—until the 2021 season. While we are saddened that we will not have the opportunity to share a planned exhibition in the gallery of the Assistant Keeper’s House for the first summer since its inaugural 1998 season, we know that this is the right thing to do. Fortunately, we are in a position to delay the exhibition and re-configure the schedule for the coming years. As you can imagine, the pandemic has thrown the entire museum world and all exhibition schedules into chaos. We anticipate that both the Monhegan Museum and our exhibition partner, the Cape Ann Museum, will delay the dates of this exhibition by one calendar year.
Needless to say, in this season of social distancing, the annual opening reception, always held the first Sunday in July, will also be cancelled.
Due to the inherent difficulties involved with maintaining social distance in such a confined space as the Kent-Fitzgerald buildings, Fitzgerald studio hours will not be held this summer for the first time since the Fitzgerald estate was gifted to the museum in 2004.
We are hopeful that the season will not be entirely lost, however, as we all recognize the importance of the arts in our lives, now more than ever. We are following closely the advice of health officials at the Maine CDC to enact whatever measures we can to help ensure the safety of our staff and visitors. At an appropriate time, we intend to mount an exhibition titled: Wintering Over—Year-Round in Maine. Created in honor of the Maine bicentennial, we had initially planned to hang this show in the Keeper’s House, but we hope to display it instead in the Assistant Keeper’s house gallery where social distancing can be practiced.
We will continue to bring Monhegan art and history into the lives of our community by way of our online collections and exhibits. Please take advantage of this time to visit us at www.monheganmuseum.org and www.jamesfitzgerald.org.
It has been vitally important to us that our staff is able to work safely during this period and that they continue to be compensated. We are most grateful to our committed board leadership that has worked diligently to ensure the financial security of our staff.
All this would not be possible without the ongoing support of you, our community. Your past and future contributions are vital to the organization’s health and growth. We ask that you help the museum through this challenging period by maintaining your membership. In this time of uncertainty, your support is critical to help us weather this storm, and allow us to continue providing you with the quality exhibitions that you have come to expect from us. Memberships purchased after September 30, 2019, along with all discounts and benefits included in these memberships, will be extended through the 2021 season.
We are most grateful for the support of all of you in the greater Monhegan community. Above all, please stay safe, and we hope to see you when the time is right.
Jenn & Bob
Co-Directors Jennifer G. Pye and Robert L. Stahl
Monhegan Museum of Art & History