Field Museum Announces Plans To Reopen, At Reduced Capacity

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- After a four-month closure, Chicago's Field Museum will reopen July 17.

For the first week, the building will only be open to members. On July 24, the museum will re-open to the general public with special provisions to keep staff and visitors healthy.

“The Field Museum’s mission is to build a brighter future rich in nature and culture, and we’ve spent the past few months figuring out how we can continue to share the world with our visitors while keeping everyone safe,” said Ray DeThorne, the museum’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “People haven’t been able to get out and travel lately, but when you come to the museum, you can explore ancient Egypt, watch a traditional Chinese shadow puppet show, stand underneath the world’s largest dinosaur, and come face to face with the world’s best-preserved T. rex. These are the kinds of experiences you can’t get from home. And the museum is so big, visitors can escape the summer heat and explore while still social distancing.”

These new safety practices include capping daily attendance at 25 percent of the museum’s full capacity, installing floor markers to ensure social distancing, and designating one-way paths through the museum to guide visitor traffic.

All visitors and staff will be required to wear masks while inside the building.

The museum has also added 144 new hand-sanitizing stations for visitors to use, and masks will be available for purchase for visitors who don’t have their own.

The museum said its housekeeping staff are increasing the amount of cleaning they do, and the museum will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for deep cleaning.

Touch-screen interactives and high-touch areas, including the Crown Family PlayLab, will not be available for the time being, as well as exhibition galleries that are too small to support social distancing.

“Our first priority is the safety of our visitors and staff, so we are being cautious with our reopening plans and enacting new policies to keep everyone healthy,” said DeThorne. “The Field is a scientific institution, so we’ve been closely following the guidelines set out by medical experts, and we’re doing everything we can to make visiting the museum a safe, stress-free experience.”

Jaap Hoogstraten, the museum’s director of exhibitions, said Apsáaooke Women and Warriors, the Field’s first major exhibition curated by a Native scholar, that opened the day before the museum’s closure in March will be available to view.

"We’re excited to welcome people back to learn about Apsáalooke culture, told by Indigenous voices," Hoogstraten said.

Tickets are available on the museum’s website; purchasing in advance is recommended to reduce ticket lines, and All-Access passes purchased online will be $3 off.

From July 24–Aug. 9, Illinois healthcare workers, teachers, and first responders will receive free admission, and their families will receive Chicago admission prices. The museum’s hours will continue to be 9 a.m.–5 p.m.