Springfield Museums Announce Steps Being Taken to Reopen Safely
SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums hope to reopen to the public soon, in cooperation with Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase plan. The museums could begin welcoming visitors inside in early July in alignment with phase 3. Currently, visitors are welcome on the museums’ outdoors grounds.
Looking forward to reopening, the museums have been purchasing CDC-recommended cleaning supplies in abundance; adding plexiglass shields and no-touch credit card machines at the Welcome Center desk, Museum Store, and Blake House Café; increasing the signage for safety protocols, including wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent washing of hands; installing one-way traffic indicators for each museum and the Quadrangle green; and securing personal protective equipment for staff.
“The museums are working to ensure we offer a wonderful a museum experience, as our visitors have come to expect from our unique, multi-disciplinary museums,” said Kay Simpson, president and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “And we are putting into place protocols to help ensure visitor-experience is as safe as possible. Each of us plays a role in a safe reopening, with social distancing, face masks, and additional health and safety precautions in place.”
For those comfortable with hands-on experiences, the museums have all interactive exhibits in place and have added more hand-sanitizing stations and more frequent cleaning by the staff. Visitors will be encouraged to sanitize their hands before and after they use an interactive exhibit.
For those who look forward to a low- or no-touch experience still informed by educators and curators, the museums have introduced a mobile guide available through visitors’ smartphones. “The guide includes virtual gallery tours and maps,” said Larissa Murray, director of Education. “And it features interactive scavenger hunts that integrate learning with fun facts and beautiful images.”
The Museums have also enhanced smartphone audio tours, adding more stations to the Science Museum, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, and Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. The Seuss Museum audio tour is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
“We really miss everyone,” Murray said. “Having families back at the museums, ready to celebrate this summer, will be such a great treat. And we are ready to make sure they have a great time.”
Educators in each of the museums’ facilitated spaces — the Cat’s Corner, the Smithsonian Spark!Lab, and the Art Discovery Center — have created single-use packets and set up activities that can be done at social distance.
“For centuries, museums have offered a place of solace,” said Heather Haskell, vice president of the Springfield Museums and director of its art museums. “We are a place where people can be together with plenty of room for social distance while still enjoying an experience in community.”