The Wichita Art Museum is gearing up to reopen its doors after shutting down for a few months due to COVID-19.
The museum will implement its first phase of reopening on Tuesday, welcoming members only. This will be followed by a full reopening to the general public on June 23.
Director Patricia McDonnell says allowing members access first gives museum staff a chance to work through any kinks with the new health guidelines that were added to maintain the safety and health of visitors and staff. Like many other cultural institutions, the directives include wearing a mask at all times, maintaining social distancing and screening upon admission to confirm the wellness of visitors.
McDonnell says she can’t wait to have the building full of people again.
“We’re both welcoming you back to an environment you know and love at the Wichita Art Museum, and we’re gently reminding you of how we all need to embrace new practices to stay safe and healthy,” she said.
In addition to the health guidelines in place, the museum is also setting visiting hours for seniors and others to allow them a safe time to visit the museum. On weekdays, from 10 to 11 a.m., the museum is reserved for seniors (ages 55 and over) and visitors who are immunocompromised.
While the museum has been closed, it has completed some renovations to its galleries. Additionally, the Preston Singletary exhibit － a major attraction that uses art and theatrics to tell the Native American story of Raven － is only available through Aug. 30. For more information on the exhibit and the museum, go to its website.
As the state continues to open up, here are some other cultural institutions in Wichita that have reopened or will soon.
- Botanica: Open. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to wear masks and the number of visitors in the gardens will be limited. Certain areas remain closed. For more information, go to Botanica’s website.
- Exploration Place: It expects to reopen to the public on July 4. Like the Wichita Art Museum, it will open earlier to members only from July 1-3 with special hours. Check out its website for more details.
- The Kansas African American Museum: Open. Though it’s maintaining regular hours of operations, it has implemented social safety guidelines in line with the county. For more information, visit its website.
- Kansas Aviation Museum: It is opening to members only starting June 25 and to the general public on July 8. Like other institutions, it also has implemented health guidelines including limitations on the number of visitors at any given time. For more details, check out its website.
- Mark Arts: Open by appointment only. Like the Wichita Art Museum, the first hour daily is reserved for seniors and those who are immunocompromised. To make an appointment to visit the museum, call 316-634-ARTS. Read its website for any guidelines before visiting.
- Mid-America All-Indian Center: The center is welcoming visitors back on Tuesday. Following the city’s directives to make museum visits a safe experience, the center is requiring visitors to follow certain guidelines to enter. For more information, go to its Facebook page.
- Museum of World Treasures: Open. The museum is encouraging visitors to call ahead and make reservations to visit the museum. It’s also modifying the days and hours the museum will operate and implementing health guidelines. For more information, visit worldtreasures.org/plan-your-visit.
- Old Cowtown Museum: Open. Like the Wichita Art Museum, it is reserving the first hour of every day for vulnerable populations, including seniors. Visit oldcowtown.org for more information.
- Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum: The museum is resuming its normal hours of operation beginning June 23. The museum is encouraging people to make reservations ahead of their visit by calling 316-265-9314. Along with required masks, there will be enhanced sanitation to ensure the health of staff and visitors. Check out its website for more information.
Hafsa Quraishi is KMUW's inaugural Korva Coleman Diversity Intern. Hafsa is currently pursuing her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York.