Museum opens with COVID protocols in place to promote and preserve Park City history
The Park City Museum is open again after locking its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic 13 weeks ago.
The nonprofit’s new hours run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the general public every Friday through Sunday, with an hour between 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Fridays reserved for senior citizens and individuals who are considered high-risk.
Executive Director Sandra Morrison is happy the nonprofit can continue promoting and preserving Park City’s history while following COVID-19 safety guidelines, and said the protocols start at the front door.
“We ask everyone who comes in to wear a mask for our safety and for everybody else’s safety,” Morrison said. “We also have hand sanitizing when they walk in, and we hand out gloves because we have interactive elements to our exhibits.”
Visitors won’t be the only ones using masks or gloves, she said.
“Our staff will also wear these protective coverings, and we also installed some plexiglass at the front desk,” Morrison said.
In addition, the museum is limiting occupancy in the store, and staffers have laid down floor decals to make sure visitors will social distance themselves.
“We came up with some really fun floor decals with mine carts to mark the places where people can stand to create a line to the checkout counter,” Morrison said. “While we do still take cash, we are focusing on increasing touchless payments.”
Access to the exhibits has also changed.
“We have eliminated tickets, but are timing admissions to every 30 minutes, depending on how much time people spend looking at the galleries,” Morrison said. “We will let one family group in at a time. So that way we can make sure people have plenty of room to social distance within the museum gallery.”
The most efficient way to visit the exhibits is to call the museum and set up a reservation, she said.
“It’s all about keeping people safe, and making sure people are comfortable while they look at the exhibits,” she said.
On top of these precautions, the museum staff has increased cleaning and disinfecting throughout the museum, according to Morrison.
“We are following a comprehensive checklist that was issued by the state, and we’ve also been adhering to Summit County orders as well,” she said.
In addition to the museum store and exhibits, the Hal Compton History Library is also open through reservation.
Visitors can visit the museum’s website and fill out a form, Morrison said.
“After they submit their request, our research coordinator will then get back to applicants with times,” she said.
The library was named after Compton years before he passed away last week.
“Hal was involved in so many aspects of what we do at the museum since 1987,” Morrison said. “He took members hiking to historical areas, helped with preserving the Glenwood Cemetery, and writing Way We Were articles that are published in The Park Record.”
Morrison said opening the museum, albeit in a restricted way, is like a breath of fresh air.
“I remember when we got a phone call from the city on Saturday, March 14, asking us not to open Sunday at all,” she said. “At that time, I thought, ‘Well, here we go.”
Although the museum was physically closed during the past three months, the staff was still busy posting history lectures on the Park City Museum YouTube channel, and photo exhibits on Instagram, Morrison said.
“All the lectures are up and we have more to come for all the people who want to watch them from the comfort of their own homes,” she said.
The next posted lecture, which will be presented by historians Steve Leatham and David Nicholas, will be about Park City’s High Line, which was a railroad that ran from the Union Pacific Depot at the bottom of Main Street to Deer Valley, around Rossi Hill and ended up on Marsac Avenue, Morrison said.
The Instagram exhibits were created with the help of local residents and visitors.
“The first one was about our fond memories of skiing, because we were sad that our fabulous ski season was cut short this year because of COVID-19,” Morrison said. “So we asked people to submit photos of them having fun in the snow this year or in years past.”
The second Instagram exhibit was posted a few weeks into the public’s self isolation because of the coronavirus.
“We wanted to make a record of people’s experiences of being quarantined during COVID-19,” Morrison said.
Now that the museum is officially open in a limited way, Morrison hopes people will come and take advantage of the information her organization offers.
“We love it when people come to the museum to explore Park City’s unique history, and see actual artifacts from our past,” she said.
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Rich Wyman and Lisa Needham ready a Park88 live stream for Park City Institute.