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SCIENCE MUSEUM OKLAHOMA TO REOPEN JUNE 1

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Following a historic closure, Science Museum Oklahoma is making plans to reopen its doors on June 1 with comprehensive new safety precautions, ticket processes and changes to the way guests will explore SMO.

“Since temporarily closing our doors in March to support community health efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19, our staff have been working from home providing online activities through #SMOatHome and planning for the new, enhanced health and safety protocols that must be in place to consider a safe reopening,” said Sherry Marshall, president and CEO of Science Museum Oklahoma.

SMO’s team has been phasing back into the museum since May 1, focused on properly preparing the building and staff for reopening with added precautions and procedures. All staff have been trained in new health and safety protocols and the entire museum has undergone deep sanitization.

“The museum has always implemented a high level of cleaning procedures. We will continue these rigorous practices while adding to the inventory of tools and resources available, implementing even more frequent cleaning rotations. With new procedures and operations, we believe that Science Museum Oklahoma can safely, but slowly, begin the reopening process starting June 1,” Marshall continued.

New precautions and procedures now in place include dozens of sanitation stations throughout the museum where guests will have access to disinfecting wipes, antimicrobial films on high-touch surfaces, enforcing social distancing, requiring all staff to wear masks and now-familiar sights like barriers at all transactional stations.

“These are just a few of the differences people will notice when the museum reopens. Many behind-the-scenes procedures have been evaluated and updated as well, including adding new equipment for deep-sanitizing large quantities of items,” said Marshall.

Tickets for June 1-7 are available online at www.sciencemuseumok.org/tickets. The museum will be open with limited hours June 1-7: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. M-F, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Ticket availability and hours for June 8 and beyond will be announced at a later date.

For the health and safety of museum staff and guests, and to ensure appropriate social distancing, SMO will limit the number of guests visiting the museum each day and require timed, online tickets for everyone visiting the museum. Timed tickets are intended to limit the number of guests in the lobby at any one time and keep waiting to a minimum. Once admitted, guests may stay until the museum closes.

“We’re excited to welcome our community back but do so understanding that we have a great responsibility to open safely,” said Marshall.

“The safety of our staff and guests has always come first – it is the foundation of everything we do and that will never change. Because of this, a visit to SMO will be a little different than before, but our staff is committed to creating a safe, welcoming experience that inspires and informs the entire family.”

Out of respect for museum staff and other guests, and following scientific evidence that masks prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19, masks are required for all staff and strongly recommended and encouraged for all guests. Masks will be available for purchase at the museum store before entry.

Guests will be able to explore the museum freely; however, some galleries, exhibits and experiences may briefly close throughout the day for sanitizing, may require a mask to participate or may have limited capacities to ensure social distancing.

Spots are still available in some of the museum’s summer camps, which begin June 1. Special procedures are in place to ensure a safe and fun camp experience – for more information or to register, parents can visit www.sciencemuseumok.org/summer-camps.

Information to know about changes to exploring SMO:

Tickets:

SMO will limit the number of guests in the museum each day to allow for appropriate social distancing.

Advanced tickets are required for all members and guests and are issued for a specific date and time to limit the number of people in the lobby. Please choose carefully as tickets are nonrefundable and cannot be transferred to another date.

All members and guests should visit www.sciencemuseumok.org/tickets for tickets. Members should log in to receive access to free, members-only tickets.

Guests using special passes or needing other assistance should call the museum’s Guest Relations office at 405-602-3760.

Regular admission applies for non-members: $16.95 for adults ages 13-65, $13.95 for children 3-12 and seniors 65+; children under age 3 are free.

Visiting the Museum

June 1-7: The museum will be open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. M-F, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets must be purchased in advance at www.sciencemuseumok.org/tickets.

June 8 and beyond: Ticket availability and operating hours will be announced at a later date.

Guests will be able to explore the museum freely; however, some galleries, exhibits and experiences may briefly close throughout the day for sanitizing, may require masks or may have limited capacities to ensure social distancing.

Science Live and Kirkpatrick Planetarium shows will have limited capacity to ensure appropriate social distancing.

The Science Shop, SMO’s museum store, will be open.

Pavlov’s Café will be open.

Drinking fountains will be closed temporarily.

Guests may bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages into the museum.

What SMO is Doing to Keep You Safe

All SMO staff are required to wear masks and will have their temperature checked when reporting to work. Staff experiencing any sign of illness will not be allowed to report to work.

SMO guests are encouraged to wear masks as they are able. Masks will be required for limited activities, such as riding a Segway, and may be purchased in the museum’s store.

Numerous new hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the museum.

Numerous pop-up disinfecting wipe stations have been installed throughout the museum.

Some areas will close briefly throughout the day for sanitizing and some areas/exhibits will be temporarily unavailable.

SMO staff will continuously clean restrooms, exhibits, high-touch areas, and dining areas throughout the day, enhancing our already stringent cleaning standards.

The health and safety of the museum’s staff and guests remain SMO’s highest priority and the museum will continue to exceed required federal, state and city conditions related to COVID-19. Changes to the museum’s operations may change at any time.

For more information about the museums reopening or to plan your visit, visit www.sciencemuseumok.org/covid-19.

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Editor’s Note: To download art associated with this release, visit www.sciencemuseumok.org/smoftp/reopening05.20. To view this release online, visit www.sciencemuseumok.org/news/science-museum-oklahoma-reopen-june-1.

Cutline: Following a historic closure, Science Museum Oklahoma is making plans to reopen its doors on June 1 with comprehensive new safety precautions, ticket processes and changes to the way guests will explore SMO. Guests should visit www.sciencemuseumok.org/covid-19 to plan their visit.

About Science Museum Oklahoma

Science Museum Oklahoma is the state’s only hands-on science museum and, with over 350,000 square feet, one of the largest science museums in the nation. With a mission of enriching lives by revealing the wonder and relevance of science, Science Museum Oklahoma demonstrates the relationship between the physical sciences and everyday experiences. The museum influences how Oklahomans learn about science through the medium of interactive exhibits, discovery-based activities, astronomy shows, Science Live demonstrations, educational outreach efforts and special events. The museum’s clear mission and firm focus on science literacy encourages families to develop and build upon a strong foundation in the sciences.