Whatcom Museum to reopen at limited capacity in Phase 2

Galleries opening September 19 with COVID-19 safety measures in place

August 31, 2020 - by Janice Keller, Communications Director

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced today that the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher galleries, Museum Store and Old City Hall will reopen to the public on Saturday, September 19, with strict measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Plans to resume limited museum services are allowed under Governor Jay Inslee’s amended Phase 2 Safe Start plan for museums.

“We are pleased to reopen the Whatcom Museum galleries with strict measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Fleetwood said. “Our Museum will be a popular recreation and cultural option for community members and visitors as we look toward fall and seek safe indoor activities.”

“We are so excited to finally be able to open once again and see our members and guests after such a long hiatus,” said Museum Executive Director Patricia Leach. “We have rigorous safety protocols in place, often exceeding state health guidelines, in our effort to make our guests feel comfortable and safe when they visit, and we hope to see people back in our doors soon!”

The Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher galleries, Museum Store and Old City Hall will reopen to the public Saturday, September 19, 2020, under the Governor’s amended Phase 2 Safe Start plan for museums. Member-only days will be offered September 16-18. The Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) will reopen at a later date. Photo Archives will be open by appointment only. The Museum will initially be open with limited capacity of 25 percent on Wednesdays through Sundays, with hours from noon – 4:30 p.m.

The Museum will not be hosting in-person school tours, programs, lectures or public gatherings during this phase of reopening. Event rentals have been canceled through the end of the year. Museum programs will continue to be held virtually. For updates on upcoming exhibitions, virtual programs and Museum operations during COVID-19, visit www.whatcommuseum.org.

The Museum must ensure strict adherence to all measures established by Governor Inslee’s guidance for museums. Visitors can expect several safety protocols put into place, and the Museum will be following guidelines from the American Alliance of Museums, as well as enlisting the help of Sansee Shield, a private COVID-19 certification company to certify its safety standards. Guidelines are subject to change according to the Governor’s Office and health department recommendations.

Safety protocols include, but are not limited to:

  • All Museum staff are required to wear face coverings in visitor areas.
  • Visitors age 2+ are required to wear a face covering per the governor’s guidelines for museum operations, which will be enforced. For a list of exemptions, click here. The Museum will provide a disposable mask for those who need one. Reusable cloth masks are available for purchase at the Museum Store.
  • Sneeze guards have been installed at admission and check-in areas.
  • Visitors checking in must wait in line six (6) feet apart from those not in their group until Admissions staff calls them forward.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations are available throughout the museum.
  • Visitors must stay at least six (6) feet apart from those not in their group.
  • Increased signage has been posted for directional flow and distancing.
  • Reduced number of visitors allowed inside galleries.
  • One family group allowed in the Museum Store at a time, with one-way directional flow.
  • CDC-approved, non-toxic Force of Nature™ electrolysis cleaner is being used to disinfect hands-on interactives.
  • CDC-approved self-cleaning NanoSeptic® skins have been applied to high-touch surfaces such as door handles, elevator/interactive buttons and touch screens.
  • Fresh air will be circulated frequently throughout buildings daily.
  • Increased intervals of sanitation with deep cleaning performed after closing.
  • If visitors feel sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, live with or care for someone who has been sick, or have traveled/live with someone who has traveled in the last 14 days, we ask they visit us at another time.

For more information about COVID-19 measures in place for Museum facilities and services, contact (360) 778-8930 or info@whatcommuseum.org.

Media Contact

Janice Keller
Communications Director
City of Bellingham
(360) 778-8100

Christina Claassen
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Whatcom Museum
(360) 778-8936

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