Nasher Museum Makes Room For Dates After Covid

Men's Dating

The Nasher Museum Reopens from Lockdown & Makes Room for Thoughtful Dates

Ashayla Blakely

Written by: Ashayla Blakely

Ashayla Blakely

Ashayla Blakely is an experienced storyteller who has fun writing authentic and relatable content for As a hopeless romantic, Ashayla has always enjoyed sharing good conversation and advice about dating. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Telecommunications from the University of Florida. She is currently enrolled in the graduate program at Florida State University's film school. You can often catch her with a script in her hand, calling out the shots in her many directorial roles on set.

See full bio »

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

The Short Version: The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to a lot of daily routines and social activities, but  many couples are now starting to return to their favorite date spots. After being closed to the public for 18 months, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University eagerly welcomes guests back. The Nasher Museum is now fully open Thursday nights and the weekends at no charge to the public. By following ongoing health and safety protocols, the Nasher Museum provides a safe space for interesting conversations and impress art lovers with its one-of-a-kind art exhibitions, workshops, and events. 

The COVID-19 pandemic rudely put a pause on many of our dating lives. Although online dating became a convenient resource for singles to meet and connect with new people, it still didn’t override the longing people had for face-to-face connection. 

With the restrictions of the lockdown starting to lift across the U.S., society has seen a joyous shift in human interaction. Singles can get excited that they can finally meet new people in person. And some may want to go on real-life dates with the person they’ve been talking to on the other side of the screen.

Now that the COVID spikes in the area have abated, the Nasher Museum is proud to welcome its visitors back to its events and art exhibitions.

Photo of the Nasher Museum
Nasher Museum reopened to the public in 2022. Photo by J Caldwell.

Couples can plan a date like no other at the museum. The Nasher Museum is located at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Known for its eye-catching 65,000-square-foot building, most would agree that the Nasher Museum is a hot spot for guests to see groundbreaking and diverse art exhibitions. 

Over the years, guests have praised the museum’s collection for its emphasis on global artists of color. The Nasher Museum has a dedicated space for underrepresented artists, particularly artists of African descent. Guests may also notice the European medieval art, classical antiquities, and ancient American on view.

“I feel really privileged to be here to see such amazing art. Thanks to all the visionaries who collected art for years and years — I feel like I’m in Europe, I’m in Africa. So thank you so much!” said Archana Shah on a visit from Cincinnati with her husband Nirav.

Couples Can Enjoy Events and Workshops

Going to the Nasher Museum to view art is a fun and casual date activity, and attending events or workshops can be even more engaging. Couples can take advantage of the opportunity to experience art in a new way. The Nasher Museum continues to provide meaningful events for guests that leave them fulfilled and relaxed. 

Screenshot of artist Julia Gatrell from website.
Every Saturday, Artist Julia Gartrell proudly hosts the Radical Repair Workshop.

Attending a workshop as a first date may sound out of the norm but it’s a first date worth having. Wendy Hower, the Nasher Museum’s Director of Engagement and Marketing, suggested couples attend the Radical Repair Workshop for memorable dates. Artist Julia Gartrell hosts the Radical Repair Workshop on some Saturdays in June. Guests have the opportunity to explore repair techniques and live demonstrations – all in a vintage camper trailer. By the end of the workshop, couples can learn concrete skills together, including sewing and darning. 

The Nasher Museum updates its calendar of events frequently so that guests can always be alerted when a new workshop or event is coming up. There’s always something for everyone, so couples can try a dance performance, live music, or gallery talk.

From Cafe Dates to Study Breaks

First dates usually set the tone for any relationship. Some would even say first dates are a make-or-break situation — it’s that serious! That’s why planning the first date is important. But what do you do if you’re a college student with a midterm paper due? The Nasher Museum helps students not only to stay on top of their studies but also mix work with pleasure. 

Many Duke University college students have become well acquainted with the museum’s exhibitions during their downtime. Not only has the Nasher Museum served as a great space for first dates, but it’s also a great getaway for college students to take a nice study break — perhaps with the cutie from Econ class. 

Screenshot from website.
Students can take a nice study break by visiting the Nasher Museum’s café.

Wendy told us that café dates are highly recommended at the Nasher Museum. The café features an array of local and seasonal ingredients for lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner on Thursday nights, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The museum requires guests to make a reservation before attending.

First dates are pivotal to starting a new relationship, so it’s a good idea to choose a fun, low-key spot, which is exactly what Nasher Museum offers. The cafe is a safe and welcoming environment to get to know someone new.

“I know, we are supposed to talk about the museum, which is good. But honestly, we mainly go for the cafe. It’s one of the best places for salads, and also a Sunday brunch in Durham,” a guest said in a review.

The Nasher Museum’s café received the Diner’s Choice award in 2017 and was named one of the top 100 brunch spots in America by OpenTable diners.

The Nasher Museum: A Decade of Showcasing the Arts

The Nasher Museum has showcased contemporary artwork and exhibits for 17 years. More than 1 million people have visited since its opening in 2005.

The Nasher Museum stands out as a progressive institution that prioritizes its attendees’ needs. The team is always brainstorming ways to make sure visitors have an amazing experience.

Screenshot of artwork from the
Painting Eloise Closing Her Eyes by artist Beverly McIver.

The museum has implemented an inclusive program called  Reflections: Alzheimer’s Program. The Nasher Museum’s goal with this program is to create a safe, comfortable, and engaging environment for people with Alzheimer’s. The Nasher Museum Alzheimer’s Programs offers one-of-a-kind interactive museum tours for visitors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This offering is special for those art lovers who deal with memory loss themselves or with someone in their families. 

“[My mother] absolutely loved our outing to the Nasher last month, saying how it made her feel so stimulated. I would say it made her feel more of this world in a dignified, respected way. What a fabulous program. Thank you for offering it, and I will be sure to spread the word to others I know,” said a visitor in a review

In the future, we can expect to see more groundbreaking exhibitions along with more fun events and workshops. Couples can spice things up a bit with date night visiting the Nasher Museum. Whether you’re an art lover or new to the art world, there is always something you can find to appreciate at the museum.

“I liked the contrast between the European traditional art and the art portraying African American figures and people from other marginalized groups,” said Triangle resident Jody Savage. “This really brings it home for you, how excluded so many groups have been from traditional venues like this. I think it’s fantastic to see all of that together.”