deCordova Planning FAQs

Why is deCordova pausing indoor exhibitions? In 2022, the Trustees began a comprehensive review and analysis of the museum building at deCordova in anticipation of the museum’s 2026 reaccreditation. As part of that process, we recently learned that the climate control systems require immediate attention to bring them in line with museum industry standards for art, and we decided a temporary suspension of exhibitions is the most responsible and efficient way to ensure we made the necessary upgrades.

This decision only affects indoor art exhibitions. All other deCordova events, programs, and activities will continue as planned, including lectures and concerts in the museum building; Sculpture Park exhibitions, commissions, and acquisitions; summer camp and all other public programming; retail store and café operations; and weddings, corporate gatherings, and other private events. The upcoming deCordova Gala is also unaffected.

What are the specific upgrades taking place at deCordova galleries and why are they taking place? The museum industry has rigorous standards for climate control. These standards require advanced HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems to maintain stable temperature and humidity in areas where art is stored and displayed. While deCordova’s museum building is structurally sound and entirely safe and comfortable to occupy, we have realized that the building’s HVAC system is no longer fully capable of meeting the standards required to protect the art in our care.

How long will these upgrades take? The temporary suspension of indoor programming will commence on March 13, 2023. We expect the process of funding and making the necessary HVAC upgrades to take two to three years. We will use this pause as an opportunity to further establish an exciting curatorial vision that places deCordova in a unique position at the intersection of art, nature, and the environment.

Why do HVAC upgrades require a 2-3 year suspension of indoor museum exhibitions?  We wish we could address the climate control issues more quickly. Given the needs of such a complex building, however — including an historic building and more contemporary wing — as well as museum industry standards for the care of artwork and our sustainability goals as an organization, a quick fix isn’t possible. Since we do need to suspend exhibitions within the building now, we’re taking this opportunity to re-envision the art program, to support our reaccreditation and pursue broader aspirations at this same time. When the museum building reopens, we will be caring for our collections, our exhibitions and our visitors at the highest possible standards.

Can I still visit the Sculpture Park while the upgrades are taking place? Yes! Indoor exhibitions are the only one aspect of the programs and activities we offer at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. All other activities will continue as planned, including outdoor exhibitions, commissions, and acquisitions. This summer a major new commission by artist Hugh Hayden will come to the sculpture park, along with other new installations.

Can I still attend DeCordova Summer Camp and Educational Programs? Yes! Indoor exhibitions are the only one aspect of the programs and activities we offer at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. All other activities will continue as planned, including our summer camp and other educational programming. We remain fully committed to our educational mission and, if anything, we expect to expand our focus on innovative public programs like our Hive Summer Camp, Summer Studio for Teens, and more.

Will some indoor programs still take place? What other facilities are open? Yes! This decision only affects indoor art exhibitions. DeCordova will continue to host other events indoors, from artists’ lectures to musical concerts to private events like weddings and corporate gatherings. The café and retail store will remain open, as well. Lincoln Nursery School, which operates on the deCordova grounds, is also unaffected. And, of course, the Sculpture Park remains open.

How will these upgrades affect exhibitions that were already up or were scheduled to open? The temporary suspension of indoor exhibitions begins on March 13, 2023. We are in touch with artists whose work will come down after March 12, as well as artists who work was scheduled for display. While we can’t yet say definitively that those exhibitions will be rescheduled for a future date, that is the hope and intention we are communicating to artists. This pause of indoor exhibitions at deCordova also gives the curatorial team important time and space to collaborate with peers, both internally and externally, to boldly envision a distinct program that explores the intersections of art, nature, ecology and climate. We look forward to involving our communities in this process.

Will I still need to pay the full entrance fee? Admissions fees will be reduced to “Sculpture Park only” pricing at $14 per adult and $12 for students and seniors. deCordova admission is free to Trustees Members, Lincoln residents and children 12 and under, and those who participate in the MCC Card to Culture program.

How can I stay informed about future updates? Engagement and communication with the Town of Lincoln, the broader Lincoln Community, and with larger local, regional, and national communities, will be integral to this process. Over the coming months we will use our website, e-newsletter and social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) to keep these communities and stakeholders informed about upcoming programs and activities, as well as our decisions and progress related to the temporary suspension.

Do the climate control issues pose any health concerns? No. The indoor galleries are both comfortable and safe. The issues with our climate-control systems only affect our ability to display art in our indoor galleries.

I am having my wedding at deCordova. How does this affect me? Congratulations, and thank you for choosing deCordova to host your big day. This announcement should have no impact on weddings, corporate gatherings and other events scheduled to occur at deCordova. We will continue to host private gatherings in Dewey Hall and in our outdoor event space. The Sculpture Park remains open to event guests, and we will be working with our curatorial and events teams to find creative ways to make the indoor galleries interesting and beautiful spaces during events.