After being closed to the public since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pittsburgh museums are reopening with new safety features in place.
Upon reopening, the four museums will be taking steps to ensure safety. The number of visitors will be limited to 25% of building capacity, which will include timed ticketing, available on the museums’ websites starting June 15.
There will be clearly marked designations for walking in high-traffic areas. Plexiglass shields will separate visitor service desks. Cleaning will be enhanced, and hand sanitizer will be placed near hands-on exhibits.
“The four Carnegie Museums are ideal places to be inspired and uplifted by the wonders of art and science while also practicing social distancing, and we are fully prepared to conform to recommended guidelines,” says Steven Knapp, president and CEO of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
Visitors and staff are required to wear masks and practice safe social distancing.
New exhibits include the world premiere of Dinosaur Armor at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Femme Touch at The Andy Warhol Museum and An-My Le: On Contested Terrain at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens opens on Saturday, June 13 with a timed ticketing system and one-way experiences (masks required). Immerse yourself in the new Summer Flower Show, which is bursting with vibrant and colorful angel’s trumpets, celosia plumes, flamingo flowers, creeping gloxinia and much more.
These museums will start out operating at 50% capacity, with social distancing policies for visitors and staff. Hand sanitizer stations will be deployed throughout the museums and there will be frequent cleaning of high-touch areas.
Also starting July 1, the Heinz History Center will debut a new exhibition, Smithsonian’s Portraits of Pittsburgh: Works from the National Portrait Gallery, featuring sketches, prints and photos of more than 100 people with Western PA connections, like Joe Namath, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Martha Graham and Roberto Clemente. It will also include artifacts from the History Center’s collection, including Gene Kelly’s plaid wool suit from “Singin’ In the Rain.”
“We are eager to reopen the Smithsonian’s home in Pittsburgh and our family of museums, and we’ll do so with the health and safety of our visitors and staff as our top priority,” says Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Heinz History Center. “Throughout our museum closure, our staff has worked hard to preserve our region’s history, develop new virtual content and programming, and prepare us for this moment. As we reopen our doors, we’re excited for visitors to experience our museums, explore our exhibitions, and draw inspiration from the past.”
The Frick Pittsburgh will begin a phased reopening on July 7 starting with the opening of the site grounds.
On Aug. 15, the Frick plans to open selected spaces in its museum buildings — the galleries best able to accommodate physical distancing. More updates will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, visitors are encouraged to check out the museum’s collections and exhibitions online, where you can find curator’s talks, virtual tours and video presentations.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is now open again with a new timed ticketing system and visitors can buy a mask at the Zoo in The Village.
The Pittsburgh Glass Center will be opening to the public for studio rentals, and offering some workshops beginning in July. They will be wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and using new hand sanitizing stations.
The National Aviary will reopen to the public July 1, though members will have exclusive opportunities to visit June 28-30. There’s a new online timed ticketing system to allow for safe social distancing. Visitors can book time slots from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at aviary.org.
Visitors are required to wear face masks which will be available for purchase at the Aviary.
New opportunities at the Aviary include a Family Penguin Encounter. Visitors can pre-book animal encounters, letting them get “nose-to-beak” in a small group setting.
“During the closure, our staff continued to provide the highest standard of care for the more than 550 birds and mammals that call the National Aviary home,” says National Aviary Executive Director Cheryl Tracy. “Their lives don’t change just because ours have. A tremendous amount of time and resources go into their care, and we have been heartened by the outpouring of support from the community. As we move forward with our reopening, that support is still critical.”
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh does not have an opening date planned yet, but they are hosting the virtual Great Night In Family Gala 2020 on Sunday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m., with a star-studded guest list ranging from actor Zachary Quinto to singers Katherine McPhee and Jackie Evancho, to Pittsburgh Pirate Josh Bell, to children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems.