What to Know
- Let the play resume at Philadelphia's beloved Please Touch Museum.
- More than a year after the children's museum closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is reopening with coronavirus-related safety measures and capacity limits in place.
- The first two weekends back are for members only. A free admission event then welcomes back the general public.
More than a year after Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum -- a place where kids are encouraged to touch everything they see -- closed due to coronavirus concerns, the museum in Fairmount Park is reopening.
"We're ready," museum CEO Patricia Wellenbach told NBC10.
Mask mandates, an upgraded air system, health checks for employees and a limited capacity to 600 people broken up into two different timeslots -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon will be in place as the museum opens its doors from Thursday to Sunday. The time in between the sessions will give museum staff time to clean and disinfect.
The museum opens its doors to members only starting Thursday. It will then be opened only to members through the weekend and April 15 to 18. The museum opens to the general public the following Thursday to Sunday (April 22 to 25) with free admission care of the GIANT company. The free dates are sold out.
Museum staff said they have heard joy from museumgoers since announcing the reopening plan last month.
"'Hallelujah,' 'Finally,' 'Hooray,' 'Yay,' 'We Can't Wait,' those are the comments we're getting and those are coming from parents and grandparents," Wellenbach said.
After a year of children being isolated and away from friends and classmates, "to come back to Please Touch Museum is just a wonderful gift we get to give to them," she said.
The future of the Please Touch Museum wasn't clear since it closed last March. As many other Philadelphia museums found socially-distanced ways to reopen, the high-touch children's museum remained closed until now.
To pull off the reopening, PTM is putting health and safety measures in place: "Hospital-grade disinfecting methodologies," crowd size limits, reserved tickets, masking (anyone 2 and older) in accordance with state and local regulations and reimagined exhibits "to provide a welcoming, clean, and low-touch Museum experience for all."
No matter what the museum does, there is still risk. "By making a reservation, you voluntarily assume all risks related to potential exposure to COVID-19 and agree to follow all Museum protocols during your visit," PTM said on its reservations page.
For members at the time of the museum's closure on March 14, 2020, the museum says all memberships were frozen and will be reactivated as the museum reopens.