Cultural Organization Reopening Protocols

As cultural organizations are in the process of planning for reopening their facilities around the country, we have been in communications with a variety of organizations nationally.  Here are some experiences and guidance we are offering as plans are being made to reopen institutions:

  • To date, outdoor facilities are the only institutions that have reopened, although many are in the planning phase
  • Most organizations are planning to reopen with some controlled visitor volume situation
  • Timed ticketing for both members and visitors is a predominant plan – free reserved times for members
  • Some organizations are planning to host soft openings, some for members only, as a way to test opening policies on smaller groups
  • Giving members the first chance to visit or reserve timed visitation slots can be seen as a thank you for their patience during the closure
  • Many organizations have given members a two month extension on their memberships due to their institutions closure; the implementation varies by organization
  • Reopening plans are being directed by governmental entities which differs by location and type of organization
  • Capacity of visitors is anticipated to be lower, perhaps at 25% of what would normally be possible.  Some of this will be directed by governmental policies.
  • Communicating opening plans with members and the public is key.  Informing audiences of the cleaning and safety protocol is important to communicate.
  • Most places are requiring masks for staff and making it a recommendation of masks for members is common. Some are requiring masks for visitors and make them available for sale.
  • Many are making plans for a one -way traffic pattern once inside the facility
  • Any interactive exhibits with a touch component are probably going to be closed for now. Some specific include:
    • Eliminate as many high touch points as possible.  This could include propping open doors to restrooms, cafes, gift shops, etc.  Remove lids from trash/recycle receptacles.
    • Place signage where high touch points exist warning visitors that this is a high touch point. 
    • Additional signage about safe distancing through the venue.
    • Place markings/signage indicating six foot spacing in areas where lines form to ensure safe distancing.  Consider similar markings in special exhibitions or high traffic areas.
    • Additional hand sanitizer stations, especially near high touch points
  • Some places are requiring all admissions be timed tickets and reservations that will minimize personal interaction at entry.  If this is the fact, the opportunities for membership sales at entry could or will be impacted.
  • According to visitor intent research being conducted by IMPACTS and spokesperson Colleen Dilenschneider, a prominent firm in the museum and visitor attraction market, the following data points have been documented:
    • Intent to visit within a particular time period (1 month, 3 months, etc.) is mirroring that of data collected in 2019, suggesting that people are looking forward to visiting their favorite institutions again once they are open
    • The venues that people feel comfortable visiting include outdoor venues first, followed by museums and indoor venues, and lastly by theaters and venues with confined spaces
    • There is greater intent to visit by households with incomes of $100,000 or more
    • An institution that has well defined safety and cleaning practices and communicates that plan will make the returning public feel safer and more likely to visit
    • The ability to avoid lines is a factor that will make people feel safer when they visit

What are you and your organization planning to do to reopen? Let us know in the comments!

Have a question for us about what to do to reopen? Fill out the form here to contact us with your questions!


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