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Museums stage therapeutic events on Donald Trump’s big day

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In New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library and the Museum of Chinese in America opened for free to the public on 20 January, prompted by Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th US President—as did the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

The organisers of the J20 art strike called for museums to close that day, which the Queens Museum did in the morning. An impressive number of commercial galleries and nonprofits also shuttered for the J20 strike, among them Lisson Gallery and Sean Kelly Gallery.

That weekend, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, two blocks from the White House, was free for all when hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in the capital for the Women’s March on Washington. “We want to assure that women’s voices and creative accomplishments contribute to the cause of women’s empowerment during the Women’s March… and every other day of the year,” said Susan Fisher Sterling, the museum’s director.

The support from some museums will continue: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, and the Bishopsgate Institute in London have said they will collect signs held by the millions of protesters at the rallies worldwide.