As museums in the Midwest and across the nation respond to the spread of COVID-19 to their communities, we would like to offer an overview of operations strategies we have observed plus a few tips and resources. This post will be updated as new information and/or resources become available. (Last updated 3/13/2020)
Public Health Information
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is your best source for up-to-date factual information and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic that will help with operations planning, travel policies and more.
Review of recent announcements reveals some common strategies among museums who are working to educate their public about COVID-19 as well as inform stakeholders of any changes to practices and policies. Like schools and other public spaces, museums are communicating increased cleaning and safety measures. They are also reminding their readers to seek out facts about COVID-19 from the CDC and other science or research institutions, and to follow the CDC’s recommendations. Several museums across the country, such as the Smithsonian museums and The Henry Ford, have elected to close for a period of time.
A few museum service organizations have assembled resources specifically for museums, to help you make operations or travel policy decisions:
AMM partner Hub International has also created a Coronavirus Resource Center on their website that includes best practices for employers. It covers a range of issues like disaster preparedness, business continuity plans, and legal considerations. They recently shared an update on workforce absence management that may be helpful to you.
Many museums and organizations across the country have started communicating their strategies for providing safe environments for visitors and employees. Many museums have elected to cancel public programs and events following CDC recommendations for “social distancing,” and some have closed until further notice. As spring break tourism season approaches, we anticipate seeing many more.
Below are a few examples of public announcements from museums, which may be helpful to review as you prepare your own. Some of these announcements include ticket exchange policies.
- Missouri Historical Society (email announcement)
- The Field Museum (email announcement)
- Science Museum of Minnesota (press release)
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (website)
- Newfields (website)
- Cincinnati Museum Center (social media post)
- Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (website)
Cleaning and Sanitization
The CDC has prepared a list of cleaning and sanitization recommendations.
Demand for product categories like disinfectants, masks, hand sanitizers, soaps, tissue, and related products has been unprecedented. Suppliers are out of stock on a number of items within these categories. Several suppliers have implemented allocations as the demand is outpacing supply capacity. This impact will continue for some time and inventory availability will be very fluid.
We have checked in with a local resource and supplier to museums, Indianapolis-based A.G. Maas, for more information on product availability and alternatives to common brands like Lysol and Clorox, such as Nyco Products Sani-Spritz Spray.