Virginia Museum of Natural History to reopen on a limited basis June 19
A taxidermy lion specimen located inside the museum's How Nature Works exhibit gallery
Beginning June 19, the museum will be open to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through Labor Day weekend, the museum will also be open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. The museum will be closed to visitors all other days.
"We're very excited to be able to welcome visitors to the museum once again," said Dr. Joe Keiper, executive director of the museum. "Although there will be some changes to the visitor experience, allowing the public to tour the exhibit galleries again and see first-hand the work that our curators and researchers conduct on a daily basis is paramount to our mission."
Keiper noted that the limited reopening allows the museum to welcome back visitors to the museum, while also ensuring ample time for proper cleaning and maintenance of the museum.
An Allosaurus skeleton located inside the museum's Harvest Foundation Hall of Ancient Life
"Our goal is to reopen in full as soon as possible, but starting with a limited reopening allows us to ensure that we are proceeding in a safe and responsible manner," said Keiper.
Visitors can expect several noticeable changes once they arrive at the museum, according to Keiper.
"The health and safety of all of our visitors will always be our top priority," he said. "Because of this, we will need to implement some changes to the visitor experience, while ensuring each visit remains highly enjoyable."
For the time being, Keiper noted, the museum's Hooker Furniture Discovery Reef - an interactive play area for young children - will remain closed to visitors and some interactive elements within the exhibit galleries will be temporarily decommissioned. While the Museum Store will be open, the museum's PALEO Café will remain closed.
Keiper also said that visitors will be expected to adhere to all orders and guidelines issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, as well as any additional requirements set by the museum.
A Xiphactinus fossil currently on exhibit at the museum. Xiphactinus was the largest predatory fish during the Cretaceous
"We want to make sure all visitors are prepared before visiting the museum," said Keiper. "For instance, all visitors ages 10 and older will be required to provide their own face coverings and wear them inside the museum at all times, with some exceptions, such as for medical reasons."
Additionally, visitors will be expected to practice proper social distancing inside and outside of the museum.
"Social distancing is still a very important tool in helping limit the spread of Covid-19," said Keiper. "The museum's exhibits staff are currently in the process of installing new directional signage, which will help visitors properly navigate through the museum."
Admission to the museum is $10 for adults ages 18-59 and $5 for children and youth ages 3-17, as well as seniors 60+ and college students. Admission is free for children under 3, museum members, and members of any ASTC Passport participating museum or science center.
- Face coverings are required of all persons aged 10 and over for entry into the museum. The museum will not have facemarks available to visitors. More details below.
- All visitors are expected to practice proper social distancing inside the museum and outside.
- Due to crowd size limitations, please note that the museum may have to deny or delay entry to visitors. At this time, the museum is not taking visitation reservations.
- Some exhibits and public areas will not be accessible. Notably, the museum's Hooker Furniture Discovery Reef, the PALEO Café, and some interactive exhibit elements will not be accessible.
- The museum's Dino Festival, originally scheduled for July 24-25, has been canceled.
- The museum's Summer Adventure Camps have been canceled.
- The museum will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and may need to alter its operating schedule or close the museum to visitors again due to health concerns.
- Please be sure to confirm hours of operation before traveling to the museum.
The museum is adhering to Executive Order 63 (2020) regarding face coverings. For everyone’s protection FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY FOR ALL PERSONS AGED 10 AND OVER. Face coverings should cover mouth and nose. The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to the following:
- While eating or drinking
- Individuals exercising or using exercise equipment
- Any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance
- Any person seeking to communicate with the hearing impaired and for which the mouth needs to be visible
- When temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to secure government or medical services
- Persons with health conditions that prohibit wearing a face covering.
Nothing in this Order shall require the use of a face covering by any person for whom doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety because of a medical condition.