Duke students are currently allowed limited access to the University’s trademark venues: The Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Nasher Museum of Art and the Duke Chapel.
Duke facilities will remain closed to the public, but the Duke Gardens, the Nasher Museum of Art and the Duke Chapel have begun offering “limited student access,” according to an Oct. 1 university-wide email from Vice President of Administration Kyle Cavanaugh.
The Gardens and the Nasher Museum are open to faculty to reserve for small groups, but students may not book appointments on their own. The Chapel, however, is now open for individual student reservations.
The Duke Gardens’ Academic Programs webpage states that “Duke faculty and staff may request an appointment for individuals or small groups of faculty, staff and students to visit Duke Gardens for academic needs or Duke-facilitated student wellness programs.”
Kati Hendersen, education program assistant for the Gardens, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that class instructors may request an appointment if they have class content that is best taught through the Gardens, or if they're interested in hosting class in an outdoor space one day.
“From there, we consider class size, desired location within the Gardens, availability on our schedule and other factors that help us determine which requests are feasible,” Henderson wrote.
Wellness programs, which must be in collaboration with DuWell, CAPS or another established program, are also welcome to book an appointment at the Gardens.
The Nasher Museum of Art follows a similar protocol for in-person visits. The facility invites “Duke faculty to reserve a time for their students to engage with the Nasher collection and exhibitions through in person self-guided tours and/or facilitated Zoom sessions with Nasher staff,” according to the museum website.
Faculty can also request that the museum make specific works of art temporarily available to students. Works of art will be on view in the Great Hall or Lecture Hall for facilitated and safe viewing.
Wendy Hower, director of engagement and marketing for Nasher, said that all classes are welcome to visit the museum, not just those related to art. She said that classes that have visited Nasher so far include Modern and European Short Fiction, First Year Design and Biostatistics and Epidemiology for Global Health.
Hower encourages students to ask their professors to book appointments.
“The Nasher Museum is here for Duke students. That is why we exist,” she said. “Having students and staff in our building has really been a bright spot during this time. Students shouldn’t be afraid to ask all their professors to make arrangements to visit [the museum].”
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While the Gardens and the Museum require faculty to book appointments for students, the Chapel invites students of “any faith and no faith” to sign up and “meditate, reflect, pray, contemplate, or just be in the Chapel.”
Reverend Bruce Puckett, the Chapel’s assistant dean, said that students can stay in the Chapel from the start of their reservation time until the facility’s 2 p.m. closing.
“We hope people take advantage of [reserving times in the Chapel],” Rev. Puckett said. “We think the Chapel can be the place on campus where students can address their mental, spiritual, and physical needs.”
Rev. Puckett also said that although the Chapel is only open for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the building may open for additional days if all current time slots consistently fill up.