Philadelphia museums close again for COVID-19, but online gift stores are open for holiday shoppers

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By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Museums in Philadelphia have been temporarily shuttered once again as part of the city’s effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To help bring in some much-needed revenue, some are keeping their gift shops open — in one way or another — hoping holiday shoppers will keep them in mind.

The historic Betsy Ross House’s gift shop has a separate entrance off the courtyard. Only a limited amount of shoppers are allowed inside at one time.

“Fortunately because we are allowed to keep our store open, we can keep most of our staff employed, which is great,” said Lisa Acker Moulder, director of the Betsy Ross House.

“When I found out that museums were going to have to shut down, this time around, what upset me the most was to tell my staff that I was going to have to furlough them right before the holidays. So fortunately, I don’t have to do that.”

Moulder said most of her employees were given their jobs back in August.

“They’ve really been doing such an amazing job in a very tough situation,” she added.

Online sales will take the forefront for gift shops too, as many brick-and-mortar museums are closed for the next six weeks.

The Museum of the American Revolution, for instance, is encouraging holiday shoppers to consider their online store.

“There are great gifts for the holidays,” said Scott Stephenson, president and CEO. “There’s all sorts of home decor and ornaments and lots of great books and all sorts of personal gift items available.”

Museums also have membership deals and special tour packages for sale, once the institutions are permitted to re-open to visitors, of course.

And if you plan to participate in Giving Tuesday — the Tuesday following Thanksgiving that’s dedicated to donating to organizations and causes — Philadelphia museums are asking the public to consider them.

The physical health of the public is obviously important, Stephenson added, but so is the civic health of society, and that can’t be taken for granted.

“Organizations like ours, educational organizations, are so important,” he said. “If this resonates, Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to say that you value the work that we do.”