Fox Cities Museum Coalition Announces Phased Reopening Plans

Published Friday, May 29, 2020

Museums in the Fox Cities are working together to develop their phased reopening strategies in line with guidance from state and local health officials.  This multi-disciplinary group of museums includes the Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass, the Building for Kids Children’s Museum, the History Museum at the Castle, Hearthstone Historic House Museum, the Paper Discovery Center, and the Trout Museum of Art.


“All of our museums have come together with a shared passion for engaging and supporting our community while ensuring we are a model of best practices to keep our visitors safe and healthy,” said Jan Smith, executive director of the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass.


Each museum will begin to implement their phased reopening based on guidance adapted to their facility and the nature of their institution.  Progression through planned phases will be determined based on the current public health situation as reported by state and local health officials. 


“It is critical that we all work together to navigate and interpret the guidance available to keep our community safe,” said Oliver Zornow, executive director of the Building for Kids Children’s Museum.  “While the specific dates for each museum to commence a phased reopening differ, we have consolidated much of the best practices that will be implemented across all of our organizations.”


While the facility and procedures have been modified at each museum, there are 5 core policies and procedures museum visitors should expect across all of our local museums:

  • Face Coverings/Masks will be required for all visitors and staff (3 years and older) for the protection of others.
  • Registration and potential limited duration visits will be used to regulate visitor numbers and support public health contact tracing efforts.
  • Distancing between household groups will be created through directed movement and some facility augmentations.
  • Hand washing and sanitizing will be required upon arrival and recommended throughout your visit.
  • Enhanced disinfecting processes will be implemented by staff between groups of visitors.

“Our museums and guests understand that the new protocols are critical for their protection,” said George Schroeder, executive director of Hearthstone Historic House Museum.  “There were concerns over heightened airport security following 9/11 and, now, we accept them as normal practices for everyone’s safety.  Very soon the same will be true of these new health measures.”


Despite these temporary precautions, museums remain committed to supporting and engaging our community.  Museums and cultural non-profits across the Fox Cities remain a vital part of who we are as a community and are prepared to play an even more vital role as this public health emergency progresses and our community recovers.


“These are certainly trying times, but the challenges we confront are not unprecedented.  History is littered with examples that offer the opportunity to learn from other's experiences, so that we can act in new ways that are more practical, sustainable, compassionate, and equitable,” said Matthew Carpenter, executive director of the History Museum at the Castle.  “Through history, art, and science we can gain a better understanding of our shared experience and how to move forward. That is what your local museums are here for.”


“We all look forward to seeing our members and guests again and engaging with them safely in-person.” said Christina Turner, president of the Trout Museum of Art. “At the same time, we all strive to improve our virtual and distanced content so we can continue to connect throughout this public health emergency.”

The museums of the Fox Cities are here to continue to inspire, connect, and teach.  When the time is right, please pay us a visit, make a donation, or check-in online. Together, we can emerge from this crisis a stronger community and create a better world.


Each museum will announce their individual reopening status on their website and Facebook pages:

Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass –

Building for Kids Children’s Museum –

Hearthstone Historic House Museum -

History Museum at the Castle –

Paper Discovery Center –

Trout Museum of Art –