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Hyde Museum isn’t just closed; it’s barricaded

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

The Hyde Collection has installed a staggered series of 4,000-pound concrete barricades in front of the main entrance on Warren Street. Hyde CEO Norman Dascher said the museum added the new security measure when it closed in accordance with state coronavirus mandates.

“Do you like our new outdoor sculptures?,” Mr. Dascher joked when contacted by The Chronicle. Then he explained, “As soon as museums started closing, there was a museum in the Netherlands that was burglarized. They drove a car right through the front door, grabbed a Van Gogh and drove away.”

The painting. “Parish Garden in Nuenen, Spring,” was at the Singer Lauren Museum, located outside Amsterdam. It was on loan from the Dutch Groninger Museum, said an article in the Wall Street Journal.

To protect against such a breach here, the Hyde installed the barriers, with the help of DA Collins construction company.

Permanent barricades planned

They will be removed when the museum reopens — but Mr. Dascher said the Hyde intends to add permanent landscaped rock features to serve the same purpose.

“It is important to do everything we can to protect the collections,” he said.

He adds, “There are a lot of other things we have done to increase security when we closed, that I can’t say to you. They are all good things, and will all stay in place permanently. I can tell you, the Hyde is more secure now that it has ever been, and it is never empty.”

That is even though the museum furloughed its security staff, who all work part time. The rest of the staff has been reduced to 50 percent hours, Mr. Dasher said, “But there is always someone here.”

He said the museum has applied for funding through the Payroll Protection Program, economic emergency loans and Chamber programs. “We are doing what we can to make it through.”

Content goes online

“Our goal is to remain in touch with the audience and community so that when we come back, people will still remember us,” Mr. Dascher says.

“We have a lot of programs on Social Media,” he lists: “Jenny (Hutchinson, education director) is doing several programs. One now is to post a frame on the Web and for people to try and ID what piece the Hyde has that fills the frame.

“Keri (Dudek, educator), is doing classes for kids. Jonathan (Canning, curator), has got a blog. We have a Facebook group that is quite active, and video programs that are virtual, talking about the Russian Lacquer exhibition that is currently going on.”

Virtually, that is: Inside the museum, the Dax Thrasher and Francisco Goya exhibits remain on the walls, “coming down as soon as the museum is allowed to reopen,” Mr. Dascher said.

The John VanAlstyne Adirondack sculptor exhibit planned for the summer, and the Cartography of Quilts show planned for October have both been postponed until 2021. The J.S. Wooley show of Adirondack photography, will also move either to later this year or to 2021, Mr. Dascher said.

The annual Regional High School Juried Art Exhibition that was to open on May 8 will go virtual.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dascher says, “We are working hard on a reopening plan. It has to do with doing everything we can to make our visitors and staff safe. We will have a specific travel route through the museum,” he said, for example, “using arrows, so everyone goes in the same direction, with standing positions marked out 6 feet apart.

“We are getting technology for temperature monitors, and masks for visitors who come without them, UV cleaning of the museum. There are a lot of little issues to address.”

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