Two landmark Manitoba attractions are getting ready to gradually welcome visitors back for the first time in weeks, after being closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Manitoba Museum announced Tuesday it will open its doors on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting this Saturday.
The museum’s reopening will begin with its history and nature galleries. The Nonsuch gallery will be open, but visitors won’t be able to board this ship. The planetarium and the science gallery will remain closed for now.
The museum says it will limit capacity, and has measures in place to encourage physical distancing.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will also have a host of new measures in place when it reopens to visitors next week.
Starting June 17, the museum at The Forks in Winnipeg will reopen five days a week, operating Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., says media relations manager Maureen Fitzhenry.
She hopes people who have been cooped up for months will now find a trip to the museum’s 26,000 square feet both uplifting and safe.
“Lots of room to social distance, beautiful, airy space, that gorgeous architecture, just [to] kind of make you feel like something bigger than yourself — that idea of a big space for big ideas.”
Arts and culture, she said, “are important for our mental well-being,” especially right now.
The museum’s reopening comes at a time when people are particularly focused on human rights issues around “the calls for action related to Black Lives Matter, related to calls for more awareness of Indigenous rights and reconciliation, [and] related even to the pandemic itself,” said Fitzhenry.
Like the Manitoba Museum, the CMHR will have health protocols such as enhanced cleaning, signage and pre-screening for symptoms of COVID-19 in place to prevent exposure.
High-touch screens and interactive elements will not be available in order to limit visitor contact as required by the province’s regulations, Fitzhenry said.
The human rights museum has also introduced a new timed ticketing system — in which visitors select one of three two-hour time slots to begin their self-guided tour — to avoid lineups and help people maintain the recommended two metres of physical distance inside.
Most of the CMHR’s exhibits will be open to the public, Fitzhenry said, but the museum’s Tower of Hope will remain closed for the time being.
A new outdoor exhibition opening on July 15, called “Articulate Our Rights,” will feature art about young Manitobans’ visions for the future of human rights on 13 huge installations spread throughout The Forks.
Those who prefer to stay home can still take virtual tours and share their own stories on the museum’s website.
The price of admission has been reduced and front-line workers and their families will get free tickets on Fridays.
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