The Wabash County Museum is excited to announce its plans to re-open the Museum to the public. These plans were developed following intense planning with the Museum’s Board of Directors, staff members, local and state health officials, and through shared best practices with other institutions and alliances.
The Museum plans to re-open the majority of its facility to the public on Tuesday, June 23rd with modified hours. The new hours will be Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm. The education center located on the second floor of the Museum will remain closed with a targeted opening date in early July.
“When we closed the Museum in mid-March, none of us could have expected the closure to last three months. With that said, I have to extend a tremendous amount of gratitude to our donors and members who have continued to support the Museum financially and to our team of staff members who have worked tirelessly to make improvements to the Museum and who continue to care for the collection during this time,” said Mitch Figert, President and CEO of the Museum.
During the closure of the Museum, the staff has worked to perform numerous exhibit and facility updates that they are excited to show visitors. This has included installing new lighting, expanding the education center, redesigning the Wabash County Goes to War exhibit, adding a dedicated space for nursing mothers, and performing updates to more than one-third of their overall 90 exhibits. They are also taking the time to create new virtual programming and offer segments of the collection digitally. In addition, numerous improvements have been made to enhance cleaning and sanitation practices to meet new CDC and industry standards.
“Several of these projects have been on our radar for some time and we decided to take advantage of this time to complete these while the building was not accessible by the public,” said Shelby McLaughlin, Vice President of the Museum. “Some projects could not safely be completed during public hours and by using this time we can reduce future closures for updates.”
Guests visiting the Museum will not be required to wear a mask, though they are strongly encouraged to do so. Museum team members will wear a mask when interacting with the public for the time being. In addition, the Museum is reminding anyone who does not feel well or has been caring for someone who is ill to refrain from visiting the Museum. Other changes include limiting access to one point of entry, the installation of additional hand sanitizing stations, limiting items that are frequently touched, and purchasing a facility disinfecting fogger that uses activated electrolytes and is chemical-free.
In addition to changes to the facility, the Museum is also announcing some changes to programs that will be re-evaluated throughout the remainder of the year. These include:
Suspending Family Fun Night programming held in conjunction with Downtown First Friday events through the remainder of 2020
Suspending private rentals of the Museum facility through September 30th
Conducting all programming, including History Hunters, virtually through the remainder of 2020
“We recognize some of these changes will impact how people interact with the Museum,” said Figert. “Our first concern has been and continues to be the health and safety of our guests, staff members, and volunteers.”
Though in-person programming will be limited, the Museum is actively creating virtual programming, enhancing interactive components of exhibits on-site, and installing new exhibitions. The Museum has also digitized over 7,000 images that are now available on their website, www.wabashmuseum.org and will continue to expand that collection.
The Museum will continue to evaluate operations once they re-open and will take guidance from the Governor’s office, best practices of other institutions, and feedback from guests.