We missed you, the dinosaurs missed you, the animals on the Carousel missed you and we can’t wait to welcome you back for a smart restart of the world’s biggest and best children’s museum. When the time is right for your family, we want you to know that The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is prepared and excited to welcome the public back on July 11, 2020 with limited capacity. It is important to point out that capacity remains limited. Every visitor—including members and donors—needs to reserve an advance ticket. To do so, please visit: https://www.childrensmuseum.org/visit/buy-tickets
“We are firmly committed to doing everything within our power to make it safe for children, families, our staff and volunteers to return to the world’s largest children’s museum,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “Safety is our top priority and that is why we instituted limited capacity and allocated additional resources to deep clean and sanitize the entire museum from top to bottom during our temporary closure. We will continue to deep clean daily for the foreseeable future. We have worked hard to re-engineer our exhibits and interactives, provide new ways to engage our visitors with our interpretive staff, and new ways to social distance and limit person-to-person contact while still creating an engaging and fun family learning experience.”
The Children’s Museum prides itself on highly interactive experiences. At the same time, it is extremely important to re-imagine high-touch, experiential learning environments. As a result, the museum will place an even higher emphasis on having actor interpreters bring stories to life through verbal engagement to encourage visitors to participate in new ways. There will also be even more objects from our vast 130,000 artifact collection that will be used with our visitors.
Because the museum cares about its visitors, it developed a task force and advisory committee (consisting of doctors and scientists) to address best practices and conducted surveys to ask families to identify what is most important to help them feel comfortable to return. Those surveys underscored what we had anticipated and what steps we will take upon reopening:
SAFETY ALWAYS COMES FIRST
· The museum is addressing safety via cleanliness practices and has updated the museum’s cleaning protocols based on CDC’s recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting facilities, CDC’s reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces and workplaces, and industry-recommended practices for collections care.
· The museum has increased the frequency of cleaning of high-touch areas such as payment stations, touch screens, bathrooms, door and sink handles, water fountains, railings.
· The museum will conduct a full deep clean every evening and has created a schedule in which each exhibit area will receive thorough cleanings at intervals throughout the day.
· The ventilation system has been thoroughly cleaned and the museum has increased the circulation of outdoor air into the museum as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, and other methods.
· Hand sanitizer can be located at the entrance and exit of the museum in addition to alongside each elevator. There are now more than 100 hand sanitizing and wet wipe stations located throughout the museum’s campus.
Face masks will be required
· Face masks will be required to enter the museum for your own safety and that of others and in compliance with the Indiana State Health Department.
· The only exceptions will be made for children younger than 2 years old and those with medical challenges.
· Our staff and volunteers will also be required to wear face masks.
Stay home if not feeling well
· The museum will ask all visitors who don’t feel well, to please stay home.
· Likewise, the museum will ask all staff and volunteers who don’t feel well, to please stay home. This includes implementing flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices. The museum has also identified an isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms, and immediately send them home or seek medical attention for anyone with symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath).
· The museum will take temperatures daily of each employee and volunteer.
· The museum is working hard to meet and exceed public health guidelines, and heed the advice from medical experts, and federal/state/local governments, the CDC, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as orders and recommendations from federal/state/local governments and state and local health officials.
· The museum is actively monitoring evolving guidelines and working hard to meet and exceed those recommendations.
SOCIAL DISTANCING IS A PRIORITY
· The number of visitors entering The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® will be restricted to 3,000 people to ensure it is assisting with social distancing in a safe and strategic way.
· There is new signage within the museum to assist people in staying 6-feet apart from other family groups.
· All visitors (including members) will now need to make a reservation ahead of time to receive a timed ticket for each member of their group or family.
· Visitors will receive an email with their confirmation and dated electronic ticket.
SOME EXHIBITS WILL TEMPORARILY BE CLOSED
The museum has enhanced its procedures and reengineered services and experiences to support your family’s ability to plan a safe return to the museum. While some spaces such as the Playscape gallery will remain closed temporarily out of an abundance of caution as will the water table in Corteva Agriscience ScienceWorks, the Carousel Wishes and Dreams exhibit (with the exception of the Carousel itself) and The Children’s Museum Guild’s Fantasy Tree House of Sports outside in Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, we have negotiated the extended stay of The Pigeon and Pals! A Mo Willems Art and Play Exhibit. You can read about more changes here. https://www.childrensmuseum.org/procedures. Please note, some of these precautions are TEMPORARY and will be lifted once it is safe to do so. Changes can occur at any time. Please be patient with us as we try to best accommodate guest needs along with Health Department and County and State directives.
The Children’s Museum is working closely with our food services partner Levy Restaurants to develop best practices and protocols for safely reopening our Food Court. The plan will continue to develop as new guidance from local authorities, agencies and the Health Department becomes available.
The museum is addressing guidelines from the Health Department including: staff retraining on new safety policies and procedures developed by OSHA, the CDC, and local health department. The ongoing training includes sanitation procedures, social distancing standards, sanitizing, food packaging, and food delivery and storage.
Because of the closure that lasted more than three months due to COVID-19, the museum is projected to lose $4–7 million in revenue in 2020. Understanding that this is a difficult time for all families, the museum is asking that those who are able consider making a donation to The Rex Response Fund when the time is right.
The Children’s Museum would like to thank everyone for their patience and support during these challenging times and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the world’s largest children’s museum!
We will continue digital engagement across all social media platforms and Museum at Home to complement and extend the onsite experience. Visitors will also find the museum app to be extremely helpful.
Here are a few interesting facts, as it relates to our cleaning protocol. Our staff has been hard at work putting safety precautions in place around the Museum with the following measures:
We have used 5,280 sq. ft. of material acrylic and sentra building plexi barriers, creating queue spaces, and blocking areas off.
We have used 480 sq. ft. of marine board material to create over 250 holders for hand sanitizer and wipes. This was in response to limited availability of holders as well as a need to accommodate certain supplies and product.
We are using 55 gallons of disinfectant every week on the inside of the building and for cleaning equipment.
We are using another 55 gallons of disinfectant every two weeks disinfecting turf and other outdoor surfaces.
It takes at least 15 loads of laundry a day to keep our rags, mops, etc. clean.
We are utilizing between 20 to 25 additional team members a day to keep up with the hourly cleanings, laundry, handle product refills and stocking, and enhance customer service around closed restrooms.
In terms of hours, there are approximately 132 people hours a day spent focused on keeping the building clean, not including the extra time spent by gallery staff.
We’re the same museum that you love with new ways to help keep you safe. We’re in this together, and we can’t wait to see you again! The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is proud to partner with Riley Children’s at Indiana University Health, Old National Bank and Ice Miller LLP.