New Jersey Association of Museums

NJAM Connections

June 11, 2020 Program, NJAM Connections - Reopening: Are You Ready?

As expected, museums throughout the state are across the spectrum in terms of planning. Some have a written and vetted plan in place that they have started implementing while others are just starting to pull together task forces. 

Shared concerns include de-escalation training, sourcing PPE/sanitizing equipment, new cleaning protocols/high risk objects, maintaining educational programs/relationships with schools sans field trips, sussing out the appropriate regulation between federal/state/county/city guidelines, how to limit number of visitors/impact on events, and staff layoffs. 

A question we are all dealing with is just because we can reopen, should we? Some are reopening as soon as possible for the revenue. Some are using a phased approach with outdoor access prior to opening buildings.  

It was agreed the expectations for visitors and staff ought to be clearly communicated and based on sound medical advice...although it was noted there is disagreement on what is "sound medical advice". The messaging should include how audience members can prepare to visit as well as what our cleaning procedures are.  

A number of sites are utilizing surveys to assess the comfort levels of staff and visitors across a variety of scenarios. Liability is an issue - in terms of insurance as well as its impact on event planning and hiring contractors. Sites are also working though how to bridge the gap in staff comfort levels/ability to return due to life circumstances.  

Most have "pivoted" to digital with many planning on maintaining this new digital presence in tandem with in person programs/events.  

Overall, every organization is unique and thus has to cater plans and policies to the needs of their site, staff, and visitor base - there is no one overarching answer.  But we are not alone in working through these issues.  

Recommended reopening guides: 

New Jersey Association of Museums, 500 Grand Ave., PO Box 77316, Ewing, NJ 08628

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