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Dallas' Perot Museum pauses plans to reopen after COVID-19 shutdown

Dallas' Perot Museum pauses plans to reopen after COVID-19 shutdown

Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science will reopen to the public on July 9, with member-only days July 6-8. Photo by Mark Knight Photography

UPDATE: Given the spike in COVID-19 cases in Dallas County and the rollback of the state’s phased reopening, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has decided to pause plans to reopen in early July, it announced June 29. Perot Museum leaders say they will work in close coordination with the other museums in Downtown Dallas — including the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Human Rights Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Crow Museum of Asian Art, and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza — to evaluate when they will reopen to the public.

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The Perot Museum of Nature and Science will reopen on Thursday, July 9, becoming the first major Dallas museum to do so amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Naturally, the museum will reopen with new public-health protocols and ticketing procedures in place, Perot personnel say. They will use timed entry for guests to limit the number of visitors at any given time. Guests are strongly encouraged to purchase advance online tickets at at perotmuseum.org, which will guarantee their entry time and allow them easy access using the self-scanning, contactless entrance.

Guests must arrive within an hour of their designated times. Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, July 1, and only groups of 10 or less will be allowed to purchase tickets. A limited number of tickets will be sold on site, based on availability, through self-service digital options. Tickets purchased on site may sell out or entry time might be delayed, and guests will be required to wait outdoors until their entry time.

Some areas of the museum will be temporarily closed, including the Moody Family Children’s Museum and a number of interactive activities. These closures may be lifted due to changing guidelines from local, state, and federal authorities, so visitors should check the Perot Museum's website for any changes.

A version of "Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind," the exhibit that was originally scheduled to end on March 22, will remain on display and be included with admission. "Origins" explores two extremely rare ancient human relatives — Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. The original fossils were removed during the museum’s closure for preservation and safekeeping, but identical, 3-D casts have been created in their place.

“We are excited to reopen the Perot Museum but want guests to understand their experience may be somewhat modified, due to the state guidelines,” said Dr. Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, in a statement. “While a few areas and exhibits aren’t currently available, rest assured there are five floors overflowing with a variety of opportunities for discovery, including the Origins exhibition at no additional cost.”

Other safety measures the museum will have will include a mask/face covering requirement for anyone age 3 or older; social distancing of at least six feet apart between groups; and a recommendation to wash/sanitize hands regularly. They have tripled the number of hand-sanitizing stations, which will be easily accessible at key points in the museum.

All employees, volunteers, and vendors will be required to wear face masks and have daily temperature checks upon entering the building. Prior to reopening, staff and volunteers will undergo extensive training regarding safety, public health, and operational measures.

Museum members will have special pre-opening access from July 6-8, along with member-only hours on Saturdays from 9-10 am and Sundays from 10-11 am. In addition, all currently active memberships have been extended for the four months that the museum was closed.