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While No Date Set, Cleveland Museum Of Natural History Prepares To Reopen

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday certain entertainment facilities, including museums, may reopen June 10 so long as they abide by health and safety guidelines, such as social distancing and sanitizing surfaces.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has not yet set a reopening date but planning is underway for when they do.

“We’re going to have timed-ticketing, no touch ticketing, we’re installing thermal cameras for temperature checks,” said CMNH CEO Sonia Winner.

In preparing to reopen, CMNH is coordinating with other University Circle cultural organizations so that visitors can expect "one set of rules," Winner said.

The museum closed in March at the direction of the state to stop the spread of COVID-19. During the shutdown, all 163 employees at CMNH have remained on the payroll, Winner said, but the museum faces financial losses from being closed.

“We have lost revenue to the tune of about $1.5 million,” Winner said.

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Sonia Winner, CEO of Cleveland Museum of Natural History [CMNH]

Naturalist and wildlife staff have continued caring for animals and wildlife areas, and, while closed, CMNH has gone virtual, like many other museums. CMNH added a program called CMNH@HOME to their online offerings. It’s a series curated by museum staff showcasing fun facts and other behind-the-scenes activities at the museum that take place weekly during what’s called Museum Monday, Wildlife Wednesday and Science Saturday. With the new content, the museum saw an increase in online traffic.

“We have already had about 70,000 views and we’ve reached about 250,000 people on Facebook, and Twitter is up 43% percent,” Winner said.

Closing has not slowed the museum’s planned renovation and expansion. With less staff in the building, construction crews are working to complete phase one, called the Gateway Project, that includes renovation of the Murch Auditorium, Smith Environmental Courtyard and other areas of the building.

“Our Gateway Project has actually been helped in some ways because we haven’t been in the building,” Winner said. “They will be done by December 2020 in time to celebrate our centennial at that time.”

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Museum visitors look at an exhibit [CMNH]

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