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WEB EXCLUSIVE With Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement of a Safer At Home phase 2.5 last week comes the long-awaited reopening of museums—albeit at limited capacities, with increased cleaning measures and face mask requirements. Several Raleigh museums have reopened already and are eager to welcome back visitors after six months of being closed; more are gearing up to open in the very near future. Here, we break down what you need to know about each local museum’s COVID-19 safety measures before planning a visit.
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road | ncartmuseum.org
Opened: September 9
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday
To visit the newly reopened art museum, visitors must reserve a free, timed ticket either online or in-person for both musuem buildings—cash is not accepted. Tickets are available in half-hour increments in order to limit the number of visitors in each gallery and maintain social distancing practices within the entire museum. There will be a designated door for both entering and exiting in each building and, throughout the galleries, a one-way path will be noted by signs.
Additionally, the art museum requires all visitors and staff to wear face masks. Museum staff will frequently deep clean high-touch areas, including doors and restrooms, and plexiglass shields have been installed at check-in desks and the Museum Store. The Iris restaurant and Sip coffee kiosk will remain closed for now, along with the Museum library and the interacitve exhibitions. For more COVID updates, visit ncartmuseum.org/visit/plan_your_visit.
North Carolina Museum of History
5 East Edenton Street | ncmuseumofhistory.org
Opening date: Today, September 10
Hours: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., Tuesday – Saturday for immune-compromised and senior citizens; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday for the general public; 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday for the general public
Gov. Cooper’s 50 percent capacity rule limits up to 250 people in the history museum at a time, though the museum will not require tickets to enter; admission is free. Visitors are expected to follow the “Three W’s” (Wear a mask, Wait in line at least six feet apart from others, and Wash your hands).
The museum is also installing protective barriers at sales counters and information desks, as well as placing hand sanitizing stations around the building and increasing the frequency of cleaning public areas and restrooms. The Museum Shop is still open, as are all exhibits except for the Tar Heel Junior Historian Discovery Gallery and any interactive exhibit features. Visitors can grab a map with highlighted sanitizer stations and paused visitor experiences, or scan a QR code for a touchless experience. Visit ncmuseumofhistory.org/about/plan-your-visit to learn more.
City of Raleigh (COR) Museum
220 Fayetteville Street | cityofraleighmuseum.org
Opening date: September 12
Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday
COR Museum is reopening its doors with a special surprise exhibit featuring “Joseph Winters: The Music Maker” and Raleigh Home Movie Day in partnership with A/V Geeks. “Joseph Winters: The Music Maker” explores the life of Joseph Winters, one of Raleigh’s earliest African American policemen, who also brought musical legends including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles to perform in the City of Oaks. The exhibit will run through February 2021; COR’s permanent exhibits are also reopening.
Marbles Kids Museum
201 East Hargett Street | marbleskidsmuseum.org
Opening date: September 11-13 for members; September 16 for the general public
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday
Marbles is adapting two new prominent policies upon reopening: all members and guests must reserve a timed entry ticket online for $9 a person and everyone age 5 and older must wear a CDC-approved face covering. Marbles asks that guests also adhere to social distancing guidelines and wash/sanitize their hands frequently. The museum will temporarily close exhibits throughout the day for thorough cleaning and sanitizing as well.
Additionally, Marbles has created one-way paths for guests to follow in order to assist with traffic flow and reduce contact with other visitors. Capacity limitations will be posted at each exhibit. You can find more FAQs about Marbles’ reopening policies at marbleskidsmuseum.org/reopening-faqs.
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 West Jones Street | naturalsciences.org
Opening date: September 22
Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday.
The Museum of Natural Sciences will also require free, timed-entry tickets in order to maintain a limited capacity under Gov. Cooper’s phase 2.5 guidelines. These are available to reserve online only—choose a 15-minute time of entry window, then stay in the museum for as long as you’d like. A face covering for those ages 5 and older is also required for all who enter the building and are available to buy at the Museum Store.
The museum will take extra precautions to enhance cleaning of facilities multiple times throughout the day. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the museum and water fountains will not be in use. During the first phase of reopening, certain areas, incuding the WRAL 3D theater, the butterfly room and The Naturalist Center will remain closed. Before planning your trip, visit naturalsciences.org/open for more updates.
Gregg Museum of Art & Design
1903 Hillsborough Street | gregg.arts.ncsu.edu
Opening date: September 23
The Gregg announced it will reopen on Wednesday, September 23 on Instagram but has yet to release many details on any COVID-related procedures the museum plans to follow. The post states that “there will be precautions in place to ensure the safest and best possible experience” and that registration will be required.
Keep an eye out on the Gregg’s website and social media for reopening details.
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