BAMPFA reopens to the public

The Cal community and frontline workers can attend free preview days this Friday and Saturday.

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive opens to the public on Sunday. On view will be the critically acclaimed quilt exhibit Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective. Credit: Ben Blackwell

Fourteen months after closing due to the pandemic, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is reopening its doors to the public on Sunday.

Following the state’s guideline for Alameda County, which remains in the orange tier, the museum will open at 25% capacity three days a week.

“As BAMPFA begins the process of safely reopening this spring, we’ll be doing so with an enormous sense of appreciation for the dedicated community of art and film lovers who have stayed connected with the museum throughout this tumultuous year,” museum director Julie Rodrigues Widholm said in a statement. “We believe that art can provide respite during uncertain times, and in that spirit we’re looking forward to offering our audiences a space for joy and reflection.” 

Admission will be free on Sunday and a reduced fee of $10 afterwards for a limited time. Visitors and staff must wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines.


The museum will be offering two free preview days: Members and UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff can attend on Friday, while frontline and essential workers can come Saturday.

Last year, when the museum closed its doors on March 15, it had just opened an acclaimed exhibit showcasing the work of the celebrated African American quilt artist Rosie Lee Tompkins. Berkeleyside reviewed the exhibit, which will be on view through July 18.

“We’ve been getting overwhelming interest in this show during our closure,” said AJ Fox, the museum’s spokesperson.

Other notable exhibitions include a survey of photography by German artist Ulrike Ottinger; an exhibition of Gandharan Buddhist art from early antiquity; and a contemporary art exhibition of Latin American art that deals with the topic of colonialism that was curated by UC Berkeley students, he said.

The museum’s cafe, Babette, will also open starting Friday. The cafe’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, Friday to Sunday, until the full reopening of the museum.