The Museum has always identified safety as a core value, leading in the design of its building, exhibits, and play experiences. Our staff keep a close eye on the exhibits as they conduct routine maintenance checks, while our safety committee reviews visitor accidents on a regular basis. These practices lead to continuous improvements. Since the Museum opened its doors five years ago, the world has changed, and so did our needs. The Museum has recently received support from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation to make upgrades on the facility that will enhance visitor and staff safety. We are so thankful to have received this support!
What We Did
The Museum team identified several areas for improvement as goals for this grant. We wanted to make sure we can easily prevent children from running into the parking lot unattended, monitor the galleries in a better way, and secure access to staff areas. We worked with regional security experts, staff from local school systems, and Museum visitors, and were–with the help of the Schmidt Foundation support–able to install upgrades, such as door locks, cameras, and front desk modifications. These changes will lead to significant improvements to visitor safety without impacting the great experience Museum visitors are familiar with.
What is to Come
As the Museum gets ready to reopen its doors to a “new normal,” visitor experience and safety will remain a top priority. Our visitors often say that the Museum looks and feels very clean and — they are right! We have always done an excellent job of cleaning, and that standard will be not just maintained, but improved. We will install additional hand sanitizer stations, a rotation of loose parts that will be frequently cleaned, and a timed entry system to manage the number of visitors at any one time. Staff are meeting regularly with museum professionals across the country to discuss best practices and protocols, and to understand trends for successful and safe reopening. We are excited the most about an expanded exhibits space, indoors and outdoors, including a new nature-based play exhibit in the Dotson Back 40!
When the time is right, we will be so excited to welcome back children and families to the Museum. We miss the smiles and shrieks of delight. See you soon!