Almost five months after closing because of COVID-19, the Mayborn Museum will reopen to the public Saturday, complete with a new family-oriented “Paw Patrol Adventure Play” touring exhibit, but also with limitations on visitor attendance and exhibit availability.
Regular museum visitors will find changes in ticketing, hours, distancing and exhibit access plus required face coverings for all but children younger than 2 as the museum seeks to comply with state and local COVID-19 guidelines.
The public opening comes a week after the Mayborn opened its doors to members in a soft opening intended to test how the new guidelines and operations will work.
“Every day we’ve had more people,” assistant director for exhibits Rebecca Nall said.
The museum will operate at 25% capacity, and visitors who arrive when exhibits are at capacity will be asked to wait until others exit. To control traffic flow, admission tickets will be sold on a timed basis, a process first tried with the Mayborn’s blockbuster Titanic exhibit two years ago. Nall said visitors should buy tickets online to minimize any wait times.
Some hands-on exhibits in the Natural and Cultural History Wing and the Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village will remain closed. The kid-oriented Discovery Center will be closed with the exception of the Backyard Ecology Hall. Nall said several of the exhibits in the Discovery Center had multiple or moving parts that would be difficult to clean frequently. Visitors to the Backyard Ecology Hall, however, will be given plastic styluses to use on the hall’s touchscreens.
Saturday is the first day for the public to see the touring exhibit “Paw Patrol Adventure Play,” which initially was scheduled to open in June. Mayborn staff consulted with exhibit creators at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis on what adaptations need to be made for the safety of anyone going through the exhibit, Nall said.
The exhibit room will have its own occupancy limit, and only one group at a time will be allowed at its interactive elements. “Paw Patrol Adventure Play” also will be sanitized throughout the day.
Museum hours will be shortened to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission also will be reduced to $7 for adults, $6 for senior adults and military personnel and $5 for children. The museum also is offering a 20% discount for renewing and new memberships through Sept. 30.
Mayborn visitors this week can watch the assembly of the museum’s newest addition: a lifesize replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur skeleton standing 12 feet tall and stretching almost 40 feet.
The replica is cast from a fossilized skeleton owned by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, where it is known as “Stan.” Mayborn staff members will work to assemble the skeleton from its component parts in the Mayborn rotunda, a process expected to take one to two weeks.
The public can watch the installation from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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