Well, so much for that: Coronavirus closes the Hammer Museum, ending open-doors policy

The Hammer Museum in Westwood.
The Hammer Museum in Westwood was opening doors for visitors to reduce the risk of transmitting disease.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Hammer Museum had adopted an “open door for you” policy earlier this week.

To help protect visitors from contracting the virus, gallery attendants were opening doors for guests from inside the galleries, so visitors wouldn’t be touching door handles. The attendants, who didn’t wear gloves, were regularly disinfecting their hands with hand sanitizer.

Alas, the museum announced Friday that it would be closing until further notice starting Saturday.

The simple precaution it had taken, however, was good common sense at the time.


The museum gets 800 visitors a day, on average. Although attendance had dipped, fewer palms pulling door handles could reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. A study published Wednesday said the virus can live on plastic or stainless steel for up to three days.

Less than a day after announcing they’re still open for business, some major Los Angeles arts companies are closing because of the coronavirus.

“As a community center, we’re trying to be responsible to our community,” a museum representative said.

“Paul McCarthy: Head Space, Drawings 1963-2019,” a survey of the L.A. artist’s work, and “Inside the Mask,” featuring Central American and Mexican masks, opened in early February.


Some of Southern California’s biggest art museums announced closures late Thursday. The Getty Center and the Getty Villa will close indefinitely starting Saturday. The Broad is closing through at least March 31 and postponing events until mid-May.


5:02 PM, Mar. 13, 2020: This article was updated at 5 p.m. Friday to reflect the closure of the museum.