When the Natural History Museum of Utah closed in March 2020 to help slow the spread of COVID-19, it thought it would be dark for just a week or two. By mid-April, however, it became clear that their “temporary” closure would be extended. Staff members began to prepare for an extended shutdown.
During the months that followed, the Natural History Museum of Utah worked to navigate how it would continue to operate during an unprecedented time. The museum made the difficult decision to furlough many staff to reduce expenses. However, it expanded digital offerings to serve audiences in new ways and laid the groundwork to reopen in as safe a way as possible as soon as conditions allowed.
After much planning and preparation, the Natural History Museum of Utah was thrilled to welcome the public back to their galleries in mid-August.
“We learned a lot from local, sister cultural institutions and museums around the country,” said Chris Eisenberg, deputy director of philanthropy and communications. The museum team worked diligently to develop a wide range of protocols and procedures to make the museum safe for guests and staff. In addition to a reservation-based ticketing system with limited capacity, the museum required face coverings for all staff, volunteers, and visitors over the age of two, implemented physical distancing, sanitation stations throughout the museum, “hands-free” interactions with many of their exhibits, and more. All of these decisions made visiting the Natural History Museum of Utah a clean, safe, and enjoyable environment.
The response to the reopening has been deeply gratifying, as visitors of all ages found the museum a welcoming place to safely learn, have fun, and spend time with family during a challenging time for so many in our community.”
Deputy Director of Philanthropy and Communications
The Natural History Museum of Utah is open 363 days a year. Advanced reservations are required to visit.