Museum Reopens from Covid19

The past few months have been trying for all of us.  We hope you and your family are in good health and beginning to explore our new routines as we navigate the uncertainty of life with the COVID19 virus.

The museum staff has been diligently working to move towards an opening of the museum that is safe for our visitors and staff.  With that in mind, we opened to a limited audience of members this past weekend (May 30).

This was also the opening for the first phase of refreshing the “Superb,” President Warren G. Harding’s private car that is at the front of building 1.  This car has had a multi-year effort to spruce up the interior. There will be more information on this project coming soon.

What you will experience at the museum will be different than what you experienced in previous trips as we work to comply with the various CDC recommendations around living with COVID19.  Specifically:

  • We are asking that everyone pay with either a card or your phone enabled card.  We are striving to limit cash transactions.
  • We are requiring everyone over the age of 5 to wear a mask.  We are mostly volunteers doing this for the enjoyment and appreciate everyone helping to keep us safe.
  • There will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility.
  • We have replaced the soap dispensers in both restrooms with touchless dispensers.
  • There will be social distancing markers in many areas and social distancing limits on the capacity for our demonstration train ride.
  • There will be one-way traffic flow patterns in building 1 and the exhibit hall of building 1.
  • Restrooms will have fewer sinks in service to support social distancing.
  • Staff members will be wearing masks and are undergoing health checks each day they’re at the museum.  Staff that reports unsafe contacts or feeling sick or unwell will be relieved of duties and sent home.
  • There will be staff members cleaning / sanitizing areas throughout the day.
  • The following areas/activities/exhibits will be opening later this year in stages as we evolve our ability to maintain and/or changes in CDC recommendations occur:
    • Miniature/park train
    • Giftshop
    • Water fountains
    • Transit / bus exhibits
    • Building 2 passenger car interiors
    • Depot
    • Birthday parties
    • Riding with the engineer (“cab rides”) on our demonstration train ride.
    • Educational programming, specifically field trips, is temporarily suspended.  Summer Camp 2020 is cancelled.  Pre-school 2nd Thursday programming is suspended until at least July.
  • Our operating schedule is changing in response to shifting volunteer availability and feedback from several recent surveys. We will start out with the following schedule:
    • Saturday 9am-5pm;  train rides at 30 min intervals starting at 9:30am with last train at 4pm.
    • Sunday 1pm – 5pm;   train rides at 30 min intervals starting at 1:30pm with last train at 4pm.
  • Admission rates will be changing to a more inclusive format in reaction to feedback we’ve been hearing. This will routinely include train rides on both trains:
    • Adults  $18
    • Seniors (65 and older) $15
    • Children (2-12)  $12
  • For summer 2020 while we’re operating on a reduced capacity and with only one train, admission will be discounted.  The discounted rate, including 1 train ride is:
    • Adults $7
    • Seniors (65 and older) $6
    • Children (2-12) $5
  • For those of you holding current museum memberships, admission and train rides are covered in your membership. Memberships that were in effect when we closed in March have been extended by the 3 months we were closed.
  • As in the past the NRHS Membership program includes a buy-one, get-one free offering at the museum.
  • We continue to support our military service members, their families and our first responders by offering free admission to them.
  • As part of our ongoing efforts to evolve based on experience, we are continuing to evaluate using timed tickets for admission to improve social distancing.

Please note that with the giftshop and water fountains both on the list to re-open in later stages of the process, everyone needs to bring their own refreshments/water/juice to stay hydrated.

About Randy Pirkle 54 Articles
Randy Pirkle is the museum's Executive Director Emeritus.

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