Glenstone opens its online ticketing system Tuesday for visitors to reserve access to the expanded contemporary art museum and nature preserve, reopening Oct. 4 in Potomac, Md.
The reservation system will allow guests to schedule visits to the private museum between opening day and the end of November. On Oct. 1, dates for December will become available. The reservation calendar will continue to add a month at a time, giving guests a three-month window to book their dates.
The museum is free, but reservations are required.
Officials expect demand will be great, especially in the early months. Glenstone will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“There is so much interest and sheer excitement, I do anticipate we will sell out,” Stockton Toler, director of visitor experience, said. “We strongly encourage visitors to plan in advance.”
Toler said the reservation system will operate in real time, allowing guests to reserve up to 15 spots at a time in half-hour intervals from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Same-day reservations will be accepted if there is room, he said.
“We want to share the experience with as many people as possible, but we don’t want to jeopardize the contemplative experience we’re known for,” Toler said.
Founded by Mitch and Emily Rales, Glenstone first opened in 2006 with a Charles Gwathmey-designed gallery and rolling meadows dotted with outdoor sculpture. The expansion that began in 2013 is highlighted by a new building, called the Pavillions, that is designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners as a series of interlocking galleries showcasing works by Brice Marden, Cy Twombly and Michael Heizer, among others. The galleries surround a water court.
The 230-acre cultural space also has two cafes, parking “groves” and an arrival hall. The natural landscape is dotted with sculptures by Jeff Koons and Tony Smith.
Toler said attendance will be limited to about 400 people a day, at least until the museum’s staff can gauge the “magic number” of guests. “We won’t know if that’s the right number until we see how our visitors are utilizing the space,” he said.