Crow and Perot museums sustain damage after weekend protests in downtown Dallas
Vandals did great damage to both the Crow Museum of Asian Art and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Dallas early Sunday. They also sprayed graffiti and smashed a window in the Nasher Sculpture Center.
In a night of looting and vandalism that spread to the city’s cultural showrooms, only the nearby Dallas Museum of Art remained unscathed.
The vandalism followed a second day of protests against the Minneapolis murder of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after a white officer nailed him to the floor with one knee by the neck.
Each museum had formulated plans to reopen in the coming weeks after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now, said Crow director Amy Lewis Hofland, “we have new plans.”
Hofland said the attack on the crow began around midnight when people picked up chairs for outdoor seating, breaking 10 windows. She said two other windows had bullet holes and another was broken from stones that left gaping voids near the entrance to the museum’s Flora Street.
This May 31, 2020 photo shows the extensive damage done to the Crow Museum of Asian Art on Flora Street during the vandalism in downtown Dallas. The photo was taken by Jill Magnuson from the Nasher while investigating the damage in the area. (Jill Magnuson / Nasher Sculpture Center)
The crow hasn’t yet calculated the dollar amount of damage, Hofland said, noting that security was increased as the crow and other nearby buildings were hastily boarded up.
“Most of our windows were broken on Flora Street, but the collection is safe,” she said.
The attackers broke into the Lotus Shop, the museum’s gift shop, where, as Hofland said, they went on a rampage with looting and stone throwing.
Dallas security and police responded almost immediately, she said. No arrests were reported. The museum and local investigators will deal with security material, which Hofland said was extensive.
Nearby, on the southern edge of Victory Park, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science was also destroyed, leading to this statement from the museum on Sunday afternoon:
“Our nation hurts. That is what concerns us all at the Perot Museum primarily. However, we can confirm that the museum was destroyed on the night of May 31, 2020. Windows and a door on the Field Street side were broken, and the doors to the square were also broken. We have suffered some additional property damage, but no injuries have been reported. “
An unoccupied security vehicle parked in the museum’s extended parking lot was set on fire around 7:40 p.m., but the flames were soon extinguished by authorities.
An Allied Universal Security car was wrecked in the parking lot behind the Perot Museum on Sunday morning May 31.(Juan Figueroa / employee photographer)
The statement added that Perot officials “are working closely with the Dallas Police Department to continue monitoring the building and we do not expect any adverse effects on our plans,” which are due to reopen later this summer.
Six tenths of a mile away, in the Dallas Arts District, the damage to the Nasher was little compared to the Crow and Perot, said Secretary of State Jill Magnuson.
The Dallas Museum of Art suffered no damage, said spokeswoman Jill Bernstein. Nevertheless, it and the other museums were boarded up on Sunday morning to fend off further attacks.
The Dallas Museum of Art is boarded up on Sunday morning, May 31st.(Juan Figueroa / employee photographer)
One of the lingering effects of the downtown lightning bolt is that it adds another layer to an already severe crisis.
The pandemic was one thing. A night of crime was completely unexpected. But for art institutions suffering from mounting economic troubles, the weekend did nothing to ease recovery.
The DMA and Perot have not reopened since they closed in mid-March, but the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Houston Museum of Natural Science have reopened in recent days.
“We are working on different reopening scenarios,” Bernstein said of the DMA.
Magnuson vom Nasher said: “We are still looking into our reopening.”
“We,” said Hofland, “have a lot to do.”
The Meyerson Symphony Center and the AT&T Performing Arts Center, which include the Winspear Opera House and Wyly Theater, had no damage. Garden furniture was brought inside on Sunday morning to deter vandals.