Eric Carle Museum closes temporarily due to the pandemic

  • The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in South Amherst is shown Monday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 12/21/2020 10:50:58 AM

AMHERST — The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has temporarily closed due to the statewide spike in COVID-19 cases.

The move, which began Dec. 21, is a precautionary one, says Executive Director Alexandra Kennedy, and staff members will continue to go into the museum on an as-needed basis. The museum’s bookshop will also offer curbside service while the museum is shuttered, she added.

“We made the decision to close after the 20th because of the number of COVID cases increasing locally, and across the state,” Kennedy wrote in an email. “We are hoping we can reopen to visitors early in the new year.”

Museum officials say they’ll monitor state health data and will reopen “as soon as we feel that it’s safe for our staff, visitors, and community. Everyone who has purchased advanced tickets will be contacted directly and issued a refund.”

Kennedy said this was an unfortunate time to have to close, with schools closed for the holidays, thus giving families more time to visit the museum: “We really miss seeing (visitors) when we are closed!”

Virtual programs will remain in place and can be accessed at Online Resources and various social media links such as Facebook. Questions can be sent to

The museum closed in March when the pandemic arrived and then reopened in August, though with strict protocols in place; advanced registration was required for most visits. Chief curator Ellen Keiter said in November that visitation this fall was only about 40% of the museum’s typical capacity.

It’s not clear if the current closing will affect the installation of two exhibits slated for early 2021: “Little Books, Big Feelings,” scheduled to open Jan. 9, and “Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books,” scheduled to open Feb. 7.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at


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