Springfield Museums Open to Public Today
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Museums are set to reopen to visitors today, July 13, with the first two hours each Monday, 10 a.m. to noon, set aside for seniors (60 and older) only, and the general public from noon to 5 p.m. The museums are open to everyone Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We are overjoyed to welcome visitors back to the museums,” said Kay Simpson, president and CEO of Springfield Museums. “We have carefully prepared our museums for reopening with visitor and staff health and well-being as our priority. We want to provide an experience that is both reassuringly safe and wonderfully inspiring.”
The museums will open at 25% of their full capacity and will issue timed tickets to spread people out over the course of the day. “We urge our visitors to purchase their tickets online ahead of their visit,” said Sharon Ferrara, Welcome Center manager. Limited numbers will be allowed into the admissions area at a time, to help all keep socially distanced.
For additional well-being, the museums have added plexiglass shields and no-touch credit-card machines at the Welcome Center desk, Museum Store, and Blake House Café. They have also stepped up cleaning protocols, especially on high-touch surfaces. Most importantly, visitors are required to do their part in communal health and safety by wearing masks that cover their nose and mouth. Additionally, they are required to keep at social distance from people not in their party. Staff also are required to wear masks.
“Each of us plays a role in a safe reopening, with social distancing, face masks, and additional health and safety precautions in place,” Simpson said. “We are truly all in the same boat and pulling for each other.”
Educators in each of the museums’ facilitated spaces — the Cat’s Corner, the Smithsonian Spark!Lab, and the Art Discovery Center — are ready to greet visitors with new protocols as well. They have created single-use packets and set up activities that can be done at social distance, in addition to increased cleaning.
“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,” said Larissa Murray, director of Education at the Springfield Museums.
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. “We are encouraging visitors to sanitize their hands before and after they use an interactive,” Murray said.
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’ cell phones. “The guide includes virtual gallery tours and maps,” Murray said. “And it features interactive scavenger hunts that integrate learning with fun facts and beautiful images.”
The museums have also enhanced their cell-phone 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.
“For centuries, museums have offered a place of solace,” said Heather Haskell, vice president of the Springfield Museums and director of the 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.”