ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After more than five months, museums are finally getting the green light to re-open but they’ll have a much different look when they do open their doors in the coming weeks.
It’s welcoming news for people looking for new things to do after all these months in shutdown mode but visitors will notice the changes.
“We will be using a lot of signage and we certainly will not be allowing visitors in without a mask on and we’re going to be cleaning all of the surfaces regularly,” Albuquerque Museum Director Andrew Connors said about the COVID-safe practices in place once the museum opens September 15.
The Albuquerque Museum plans to only allow 120 people every hour to stay within the public health order’s 25% capacity limit.
Connors said they’ve been taking advantage of the five and a half month closure by doing a deep clean, re-roofing nearly half the museum, and resurfacing floors.
Starting October 3, visitors will get to see a new traveling exhibit called “30 Americans,” showcasing American contemporary artists from the past three decades. That replaces the popular Jim Henson exhibit.
Meanwhile, the Balloon Museum is set to open September 16 with a soft opening for members on September 9. They’ll be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.Visitors will notice some of the interactive displays will be turned off as part of the health order.
“All of our artifacts, all of our films that you know and expect and love about the museum, but just our touch tables and our interactives that are hands-on will be closed,” Balloon Museum Manager Nan Masland stated.
Both the Albuquerque Museum and Balloon Museum will require people to reserve their tickets online but those systems aren’t up and running just yet.
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science doesn’t have a reopening date just yet but plans to eventually allow in around 300 people at a time. Staff will have to close off the newly renovated planetarium and interactive exhibits.
Meanwhile, Explora is not able to reopen under the health order because of the hands-on nature of the museum’s learning activities. For now, the popular family destination will focus on programming.
“I know this summer we served up to 1,000 youth this summer with our virtual and in-person programs, as well as our family science events we had going on virtually,” Explora Communications Coordinator SheldonHamilton explained. “These programs are going to continue through the fall semester so we can work with schools and families.”