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Rochester museums ready for reopening 

Three of Rochester’s largest cultural attractions — the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum & Science Center, and The Strong National Museum of Play — are planning to open Saturday as part of the state’s fourth phase of reopening.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said this week the Finger Lakes and four other regions were on track to begin Phase 4 on Friday.

The Strong and MAG will be open to members only to start, and RMSC will be open to the general public.

Two other major cultural institutions have also announced plans for reopening in the near future. The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House will reopen its doors to the public for tours on July 1. The George Eastman Museum expects to open in mid-July to accommodate construction on the new Thomas Tischer Visitor Center.

All five institutions, closed since early March, will feature limited capacities, enhanced sanitation protocols, and other safety measures.

The Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester will reopen for members on Saturday and will reopen to the general public on Wednesday, July 8.
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“MAG is Rochester’s civic art museum and is a place where people come together engage in spirited conversation and debate about art and creativity,” Museum Director Jonathan Binstock said. “For more than a century, MAG has played an especially important role during difficult times, when people need the beauty, solace, and sense of safety that only an art museum can provide. MAG is grateful to be able to play this role now, as we warmly welcome our public back.”

More information about the MAG reopening can be found at: mag.rochester.edu/about/meet-me-again-at-mag/

The Rochester Museum & Science Center is ready to reopen its doors at the museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium, and Cumming Nature Center.

The organization has also implemented some new procedures to ensure the health and safety of visitors, staff, and volunteers. In addition to implementing additional safety precautions, the RMSC adjusted the hours of operation at the museum and lowered ticket prices.
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The museum will be open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 4:30 p.m., with member-only hours available on Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon.

“We’ve missed our visitors and are excited to welcome them back,” said Hillary Olson, President and CEO of the RMSC. “Although things will be different, we’re still the same Museum, Planetarium, and Nature Center you all know and love. We are keeping guest and staff safety at the top of our minds, and any changes to your experience will reflect that.”

Get more information about the RMSC health and safety protocols at: rmsc.org/science-museum/hours-admission-directions.

The Strong museum will be open for members from June 27 to July 10 and open to the general public on July 11. 
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Changes to the museum include timed sessions, daily capacity limits, modifications to its exhibit, and enhanced cleaning protocols. The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden will be closed until mid-July and the food court will remain closed. The Lost World of Dragons exhibit, previously slated to close in May, has been extended through Labor Day.

For more information on safety protocols and the full list of exhibit modifications, visit museumofplay.org/play-safe.

“All of us at The Strong are proud of the work that this community has done and the sacrifices that they’ve made to get our region to Phase 4, and we’re excited to be able to welcome back our members tomorrow,” said Steve Dubnik, President and CEO of The Strong. “Museums serve a crucial role in our communities to educate, break down barriers, and preserve our shared history. The Strong will have new safety features in place and some other changes, but our mission and commitment remains the same—to explore the important role of play in culture and human development.”

The George Eastman Museum announced it will delay its opening until mid-July  due to ongoing construction, and plans to open The Dryden Theatre to the general public for film screenings in August.
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“We are eager to welcome visitors back to the George Eastman Museum this summer,” museum director Bruce Barnes said. “Our top priority is the health and safety of our visitors and staff, and we look forward to opening the doors to new exhibitions in the gallery spaces, and a fully restored Colonnade leading visitors into the historic mansion.”

Full information about visiting and safety measures will be available before the museum reopens in July at eastman.org/welcomeback.

At the Susan B. Anthony House & Museum, President & CEO Deborah Hughes issued a statement about its planned July 1 reopening.
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"In following New York State guidelines, the Anthony Museum is working to ensure appropriate public health and physical distancing measures are put in place for the safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors,” Hughes said. "We are pleased to be able to offer tours in this historic year, and know that online advance sales of tours will be an important part of facilitating this."

In addition to the advance online sales of admission tickets, safety measures will include appropriate queue management, one-way traffic flow, and increased cleaning of facilities, as well as an introduction of hand sanitizer stations. Certain areas of the National Historic Landmark home and its Visitor Center will be off-limits to guests because of narrow spaces that make safe physical distancing impossible.

There is more information about the reopening at the Susan B. Anthony House & Museum at susanb.org.

Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. He can be reached at rgorbman@wxxi.org.
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