From the Contemporary Jewish Museum's new exhibit, "Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years."
From the Contemporary Jewish Museum's new exhibit, "Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years."

Contemporary Jewish Museum to reopen with limited capacity Oct. 17

The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is scheduled to reopen to the public on Oct. 17 with safety protocols in place, more than seven months after closing on March 13, a few days before shelter-in-place orders went into effect.

The announcement was made Thursday morning.

San Francisco permitted indoor museums, zoos and aquariums to reopen on Sept. 21, with approved coronavirus safety plans. Several of the largest museums in the city announced their reopening dates immediately, including the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum (Sept. 25), the Asian Art Museum (Oct. 3) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Oct. 4).

All of these museums are restricting admissions to 25 percent of capacity, as will the CJM.

“We look forward to responsibly welcoming our community back to the CJM during a time when everyone could certainly use a little inspiration,” executive director Lori Starr said in a statement. “The architecture of the CJM itself is inspiring and welcoming, and is naturally suited to allow for comfortable physical distancing between groups of people.”

On view will be two exhibits that opened shortly before the lockdown: “Levi Strauss: A History of American Style” and “Threads of Jewish Life: Ritual and Other Textiles from the San Francisco Bay Area,” which have been extended through Jan. 10 and Feb. 28, 2021, respectively.

A third, new exhibition also will open: “Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years,” a tribute to Shimmel Zohar, a mythical 19th-century Jewish immigrant and photographer, which will be on display through Feb. 28.

Museum members will be allowed entry on Oct. 15 and 16 in advance of the general reopening.

A major exhibition on the late singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen that was scheduled to open this month has been delayed to February 2021.

Strict safety measures will be implemented when the museum reopens. In addition to reducing capacity to accommodate physical distancing, the museum will ask visitors to stay at least 6 feet away from each other (unless they are in family or other stable groups), and everyone, including staff, will be required to wear masks. Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and air-filtration systems have been upgraded, and high-touch surfaces will be sanitized frequently, the museum stated.

Visitors, including members, are urged to book timed admission tickets online, to minimize interactions at the admissions desk. A reduced schedule has been announced, Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and free for members and youth 18 and under.

The CJM gift shop will be open during regular hours, and the Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen at the museum has been and will remain open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for takeout and outdoor dining only. Exhibit tours and public events will remain on hiatus, and some CJM facilities (such as the coat check) will be closed and others (such as restrooms and elevators) will operate at a reduced capacity.

The CJM’s online-only programming will continue, as well as virtual versions of the Levi Strauss and the Zohar Studios exhibits for those who prefer not to enter the building in person.