Allen County Museum
Reopened on June 16, 2020
After three months of being closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Allen County Museum has been working behind the scenes to prepare for reopening. After careful safety considerations and planning, the Museum opened to the public on Tuesday, June 16 at 11:00 a.m. with obvious changes.
Visitors should be prepared for recently established protocols required for the safety of guests. While the majority of the exhibits are accessible, there are spaces that remain closed through July 1 and possibly longer. For example, the hands-on area of the Children's Discovery Center will not be open, along with several educational exhibits including the schoolhouse, general store, and model railroad. Visitors are encouraged to peek in each space, but the capacity limits their accessibility. The education staff has been preparing Take It and Make It projects that will be available to visitors for free. These packets replace the hands-on activities that many visitors ordinarily make during their visit to the museum.
The museum's permanent galleries also require new safety guidelines and recommendations. To adhere to these guidelines and still offer guests a safe experience, the museum has a directed traffic plan to ensure one-way flow and social distancing. Visitors will follow floor decals through the museum and can expect capacity limits that are posted throughout the museum. Small exhibit spaces such as Noah's Ark and interactive displays will be unavailable. Instead, videos are on a repeated loop for guest convenience.
Museum staff working on installing floor decals and signage.
Additionally, the museum has been adhering to the five protocols suggested for all businesses including social distancing, good hygiene, increased sanitization, decreased capacity, and daily health assessments of staff and volunteers. Upon reopening, the museum will also administer protocols that enable us to continue accomplishing our mission with the safety of our visitors at the forefront. The Allen County Museum is implementing the following safety guidelines as part of the new reopening protocols for visitors. The plan supports the mandatory protocols issued by the state.
● Entrance: Guests should come in the main entrance and are asked to pay attention to the doors designated as in and out. If guests arrive along with others, please properly social distance outside while waiting to enter. The museum is free, but as always, guests are asked to sign-in at the front desk in an effort for the museum to track annual attendance.
● Face Coverings: For the protection of guests, volunteers, and staff, the Museum is strongly recommending the use of masks or face coverings while visiting. The use of face coverings demonstrates respect for others’ safety and protection. The Museum will provide masks to those guests who do not have one upon entering the museum. Exceptions will be made for those with medical conditions. Staff and volunteers are required to wear masks in all public spaces.
● Personal Belongings: The Museum is encouraging people not to bring personal belongings. Anything brought in the facility will need to be carried for the duration of the visit.
● Social Distancing: A distance of six feet or more between visitor groups must be maintained at all times. One-way traffic flow throughout the museum will be designated with floor decals to assist with distancing.
● Barriers: Plexi-glass barriers have been installed at the front desk and gift shop area to ensure the safe interaction of guests and staff.
● Capacity: To minimize physical contact and encourage safe social distancing practices, the Museum will limit guest capacity in each gallery and/or museum space. Capacity limits will be posted throughout the museum.
● Cleaning Protocols: The Museum’s staff will clean and sanitize the facility throughout the hours of operation and every morning prior to opening. The museum will close from 1-2 p.m. each day to allow staff to sanitize the facility mid-day.
● Proper Hygiene and Hand Sanitizing Stations: The Museum will encourage good hygiene through signage and has increased the hand sanitizer stations available throughout its facility.
● Priority Opening for Vulnerable Populations: The Museum has planned to open daily from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. after the mid-day cleaning to higher-risk members of our community (those who are age 60 or older and persons with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems.)
● Water Fountains: The museum’s water fountains will not be available during visits. Food and water is not permitted inside the galleries. For emergency situations requiring water, visitors are asked to see the front desk attendant.
● Children’s Discovery Center (CDC): The Children’s Discovery Center will not be open to the general public. The hands-on side of the CDC will be closed temporarily. Take It and Make It projects are available to the public to be enjoyed by families at home. Support for these projects has been provided by Ohio Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the federal CARES Act of 2020 and by Dominion Energy.
● MacDonell House: The Museum plans to open the MacDonell House as part of our second phase beginning July 1, 2020.
● Research: The Museum’s Elizabeth M. MacDonell Library and the John H. Keller Archives will be open by appointment only as part of our second phase beginning July 1, 2020.
In addition to these new protocols, staff will continue daily health assessments at the start of each day. While these changes are significant, we are delighted to welcome the general public back. We greatly appreciate everyone adhering to the protocols for the well-being of guests, staff, and volunteers. To stay connected to the Museum, watch for our Tuesday Mystery post and Throwback Thursday post on Facebook and Instagram.
For more information, please contact Amy Craft at 419-222-9426 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.