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Fox Cities museums working to develop phased reopening strategies

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FOX CITIES, Wis. (WFRV) – Museums in the Fox Cities are working together to develop their phased reopening strategies based on guidance from state and local health officials.

In a Friday release, the group of museums – the Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass, the Building for Kids Children’s Museum, the History Museum at the Castle, Hearthstone Historic House Museum, the Paper Discovery Center, and the Trout Museum of Art – announced they will each begin implementing their phased reopening.

“All of our museums have come together with a shared passion for engaging and supporting our community while ensuring we are a model of best practices to keep our visitors safe and healthy,” said Jan Smith, executive director of the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass.

Progression through planned phases will be determined based on the current public health situation as reported by state and local health officials. 

“It is critical that we all work together to navigate and interpret the guidance available to keep our community safe,” said Oliver Zornow, executive director of the Building for Kids Children’s Museum.  “While the specific dates for each museum to commence a phased reopening differ, we have consolidated much of the best practices that will be implemented across all of our organizations.”

While the facility and procedures have been modified at each museum, there are 5 core policies and procedures museum visitors should expect across all of our local museums:

  • Face Coverings/Masks will be required for all visitors and staff (3 years and older) for the protection of others.
  • Registration and potential limited duration visits will be used to regulate visitor numbers and support public health contact tracing efforts.
  • Distancing between household groups will be created throughdirected movement and some facility augmentations.
  • Hand washing and sanitizing will be required upon arrival and recommended throughout your visit.
  • Enhanced disinfecting processes will be implemented by staff between groups of visitors.

“Our museums and guests understand that the new protocols are critical for their protection,” said George Schroeder, executive director of Hearthstone Historic House Museum.  “There were concerns over heightened airport security following 9/11 and, now, we accept them as normal practices for everyone’s safety.  Very soon the same will be true of these new health measures.”

“These are certainly trying times, but the challenges we confront are not unprecedented.  History is littered with examples that offer the opportunity to learn from other’s experiences, so that we can act in new ways that are more practical, sustainable, compassionate, and equitable,” said Matthew Carpenter, executive director of the History Museum at the Castle.  “Through history, art, and science we can gain a better understanding of our shared experience and how to move forward. That is what your local museums are here for.”

“We all look forward to seeing our members and guests again and engaging with them safely in-person,” said Christina Turner, president of the Trout Museum of Art. “At the same time, we all strive to improve our virtual and distanced content so we can continue to connect throughout this public health emergency.”

Each museum will announce their individual reopening status on their websites:

Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass – www.bmmglass.com

Building for Kids Children’s Museum – www.buildingforkids.org

Hearthstone Historic House Museum – www.hearthstonemuseum.org

History Museum at the Castle – www.myhistorymuseum.org

Paper Discovery Center – www.paperdiscoverycenter.org

Trout Museum of Art – www.troutmuseum.org

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