Page 7 - BusinessWest July 20, 2020
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 to reopen,” she said, adding that conversations with other muse- ums, followed by Gov. Charlie Baker’s shutdown order in late March, made the actual picture much clearer.
“It was really hard. It has just been an experience like no other,” she said. But thanks in part to the PPP loan and those donations, “we were able to sustain our operation through the closure. And now we’re reopening, but it’s on a limited basis. We’re very, very concerned about making sure this is a safe envi- ronment for our employees and our volunteers, as well as our visitors.”
 Jodi Joseph says the wide spaces at MASS MoCA make physical distancing easier than at many places where people gather.
It’s important they feel safe and return, Simpson added, if only because of what this set of museums means to the city and region.
“They’re unique and can’t be replicated at other settings —
it’s an incredible complex that has served the city of Springfield for more than 160 years and is constantly evolving,” she said. “It attracts people of all ages and all backgrounds, engaging in learn- ing experiences alongside each other — it’s a place where people come together, and it’s joyful and also educational.”
And, at long last, open to visitors.
“One of the things people loved is all the interactive exhibits we provided, both permanent and traveling. Of course, now, we’ve had to be very careful about that.”
Safety First
Not that it was easy getting to that point, of course. Museums across Massachusetts had to adhere to very specific guidelines outlined in phase 3 of Baker’s economic reopening plan, as well as their own sense of what visitors needed to feel comfortable enough to return.
Both Simpson and Joseph outlined measures at their facili-
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