What it's like inside a magically quiet de Young Museum

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Outside, there were bicyclists zooming by and parents pushing strollers on the paths in Golden Gate Park. Inside the de Young Museum, it was eerily quiet when I visited during the long COVID-19 shutdown.

The museum is back open at a limited capacity now, but I had the opportunity to walk the halls while they were still empty. It felt like being transported far away from San Francisco. I felt like if I breathed too loud, I might disturb the Victorian women posing for oil painting portraits mounted on the walls.

Come along for a tour by watching the video at the top of this story.

Because the museum was closed, I entered through a backdoor near a loading dock. Security staff still walked the halls, keeping an eye on the art while no one else was.

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The first stop was the temporary Frida Kahlo exhibition, a big get for the de Young that only got a short stint in the spotlight before the museum shut back down in the fall of 2020. When I visited, many of the pieces were very much out of the spotlight, hiding under butcher paper for maximum preservation.

I allowed myself to get a little lost in the labyrinth of galleries and hallways. Admittedly, I'm far from an art buff. But even I was stopped in my path by a small bronze statue alone in a beam of sunlight coming through a window in the roof. It was the sort of solace I'd always aspired to find somewhere like an art museum, but never quite achieved amid the hordes of tourists and picture-takers.

The de Young has reopened to visitors at limited capacity and the Frida Kahlo exhibited has been extended through May. Tickets and information can be found on their website.

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