DOVER- The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is excited to announce its reopening to the public in September after a nearly six-month closure due to COVID-19. “During this unprecedented time of stress and hardship, we hope that reopening the Museum brings joy and a hint of normalcy to the lives of children, families and the community,”said Jane Bard, Museum President. “We recognize that there is still much uncertainty, and that some families might not be ready for in-person experiences like visiting a Museum. For those families, we are committed to continue offering virtual programming and learning resources through our social media channels,” said Bard. “For families ready to return, we look forward to welcoming you back!”
The Museum’s plan for reopening is a phased approach, and initially CMNH will open to their members only on Thursday – Saturday, September 3rd - 5th, and then to the public the following week beginning September 10th. The new schedule has the Museum open Thursday-Saturday, with two timed-ticket entry sessions each day from 9 am - 11:30am and 1pm - 3:30 pm. Maximum occupancy for each session will be capped at 50 visitors, which is 10% of CMNH’s building capacity. All visitors must pre-register for their visit at childrens-museum.org. Online registration can be done one week in advance. Beginning in October, the Museum plans to offer two-hour private Museum rentals to groups of up to 50 people on Sundays.
“As we prepare to open our doors, we feel it is important to share the steps we are taking to keep our guests and employees safe,”said Bard. “We’ve always taken pride in providing a safe, clean, and accessible environment. During our closure, we’ve been preparing to reopen implementing best practices set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association of Children’s Museums, and the New Hampshire Reopening Guidelines.”
These safety guidelines include:
- Physically distancing - There are occupancy limits posted for each exhibit, (usually one family at a time), floor decals and dinosaur footprints guiding visitors on the one-way flow of traffic around the Museum.
- Face coverings - All visitors over the age of 2 and all staff must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose at all times in the Museum. We will offer a once-monthly after-hours session for visitors who cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons.
- Frequent hand washing and sanitizing - The Museum has 17 hand-sanitizing stations and 12 sinks for hand-washing spaced throughout the building.
- Ventilation - we have increased the air rate of exchange in our building to maximum levels and will keep windows open when possible to maximize air flow
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces - Museum staff will perform a deep clean in between each timed sessions, disinfecting all surfaces and replacing all exhibit props with a new sanitized set. Some exhibits have been modified and items that are difficult to sanitize or that touch a visitor’s face or head have been removed. Disinfectant wipes will be placed strategically around the Museum for visitor use, and staff will continually clean high-touch surfaces during the day.
- Staying home if you are sick - The Museum asks that all visitors and staff stay home if they are sick or experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19. We are happy to reschedule visits if necessary. All Museum staff will answer health screening questions and take their temperature prior to each work day.
About the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
The not-for-profit Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located at 6 Washington Street in Dover and offers two levels of hands-on, interactive exhibits for children from newborn to middle school. Children can explore a wide range of subjects, from dinosaurs, music and aeronautics to world cultures, art and natural history. Open year-round, the Silver LEED-certified museum specializes in creating memorable family learning experiences and works closely with schools, social service agencies and educators. The museum also hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, classes and special events for families. For more information, please call the museum at (603) 742-2002 or visit www.childrens-museum.org
IMAGE Caption: Courtesy photo. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire will be reopening in September with additional safety and cleaning protocols.