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Playing with Wildfire: Getty Museum Closed Due to Smoke in the Region

I sometimes worry about housing some of the world’s greatest cultural treasures (including those from major loan shows) in a building that’s located on a fault line (prompting special precautions in how objects are installed), and in an area that has been prone to wildfires.

Speaking of which, this just in from the Getty Museum’s Twitter feed:

Ron Hartwig, the J. Paul Getty Trust’s vice president for communications, told me this tonight, in response to my query about possible fire danger:

The fires [my link, not his] are far from both the Getty Center and the Villa, but there are strong winds pushing the smoke toward both facilities so we decided to close to the public today, and with the winds expected to continue tomorrow, we will be closed to the public at both facilities Wednesday, as well, to protect the collections.

The Getty has very sophisticated air filtration systems and they are working perfectly so staff will report as usual.  We are closed to the public, however, since heavy traffic going in and out of the buildings and galleries compromises the effectiveness of the filtration systems.

So far, so good. It’s true that disasters can happen anywhere: San Francisco suffered smoke from the recent Northern California fires, but Neal Benezra, director of SFMOMA, later told me his museum’s art was unaffected.

That said, the Getty is situated in a lovely but particularly vulnerable spot.


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