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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The National Museum of Industrial History plans to open its doors to visitors this Friday, June 26th with increased safety measures following over three months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating on a limited schedule, the museum will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday until further notice.
“We have been incredibly overwhelmed with the support of our community and patrons during this difficult period. We thank the thousands who have tuned in online to our virtual offerings and the many of you who have purchased memberships, made donations, and supported us in various ways throughout this crisis. We’re excited to get back to doing what we do best: preserving America’s industrial past and inspiring new generations of inventors and entrepreneurs.”
The museum has implemented a comprehensive policy to ensure the safety of patrons, employees, volunteers, and artifacts during the reopening phase. The new measures follow local, state, and national regulations and best practices and will allow the museum to offer an educational and enjoyable experience while maintaining vigilance. In accordance with Pennsylvania guidelines, the museum will operate at a 50% capacity until further notice and utilize a timed ticketing system, to allow for controlled entry to the museum with minimal person-to-person interaction. Tickets for the museum can be purchased on the museum’s website at nmih.org.
The museum has been professionally cleaned and sanitized following CDC guidelines prior to reopening and reduced hours allow for museum staff to disinfect between visiting days. Sanitizing stations have been implemented throughout the museum and touchless soap dispensers have been installed in the museum’s bathrooms. Signage has been placed throughout the space to ensure proper social distancing between visitors and frequently touched areas, such as the museum’s interactive experiences, have been modified or removed. A Plexiglas barrier has been mounted at the museum’s front desk and all staff and visitors over the age of 4 are required to wear masks while inside the museum facilities.
While the museum is operating at a reduced capacity, it will continue offering programs via its website and social media outlets. “Our ‘Virtual Museum’ offerings have been extremely popular, allowing our fans from across the world to learn more about industrial history while at home,” said Glenn Koehler, Director of Marketing and PR for the museum. “We’re going to continue offering several guest lectures a month, as well as our youth programs in partnership with the Bethlehem Area Public Library and PBS39.” The full list of online offerings, including recordings of previous programs, can be found at https://nmih.org/virtualmuseum. The museum is also hosting a Virtual Summer Camp offering campers behind-the-scenes looks and the chance to learn from working professionals at top Lehigh Valley manufacturers like Martin Guitar, B. Braun, and Mack Trucks. More information on the summer camp and sign-up information can be found at https://www.nmih.org/educate/2020-engineering-summer-camp/.
A Smithsonian Institution-affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Housed in an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history. Learn more at nmih.org.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
National Museum of Industrial History