COVID-19: Staying Safe FAQ

When will the museum open? 
The Science Museum will reopen in late February, with a Member preview on Friday, February 26 and a public reopening on Saturday, February 27. Tickets will be available online and via phone beginning Friday, February 19. Advance reservations are required and can be made at smm.org.  

Will the Omnitheater open?
The Omnitheater will reopen with the rest of the museum, but please expect reduced capacity to allow for a safe distance between viewers, and fewer showtimes to allow for cleaning between movies. Advanced reservations and assigned seating will be required. 

Both Ancient Caves and Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation will show in the Omnitheater. During the advance reservation process, you will select both a showtime and a seat.Omnitheater shows will run at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. (and 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).

Do I need to reserve tickets in advance?
Yes! To ensure that we are in compliance with all public health and safety orders, we are asking everyone to reserve tickets in advance. This allows us to protect your health and safety and know exactly how many people are in the museum at one time. keep close track of the number of people who are in the facility at one time. We will not be accepting walk-up visits for the general public or Members.

Will I need to wear a mask when I visit?
Yes. To protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff, masks are required. Visitors who do not arrive with face masks may purchase them in the Explore Store on level 5. Masks will be provided free of charge to Great Tix and Great Membership visitors. 

We ask for visitors’ cooperation in maintaining a safe distance and adhering to our efforts to make all visits as safe as possible. Visitors who are dismissive of these efforts or who endanger the health and safety of other visitors will be asked to leave.

Please stay home if you’re not feeling well or have any COVID-19 symptoms. If you need to reschedule your visit, please contact us.

How did you determine it is safe to reopen? 
Public health and safety is the number one priority. When we closed, we committed to only reopening when we could be confident that we could do so safely. Health officials’ recommendations regarding safe distancing and sanitization practices are the base of every decision. You can be assured that we are giving careful consideration to the safety practices we implement to keep you safe during your visit.

There are significant infrastructure costs to reopen the museum, so we want to ensure that our reopening plans align with our visitors’ and Members’ intent to return, which is why we’re asking visitors and non-visitors for their views and experiencesIn addition to our visitors’ and staff’s health and safety, we are committed to keeping the museum financially healthy so that we can continue operating far into the future. 

What’s new at the museum? 
There’s been a lot happening in the museum while our doors have been closed, and we are eager for our visitors to see what we’ve been working on!

  • Be among the first to meet two new Quetzalcoatlus sculptures.

  • This winter, the Science Museum has re-introduced our successful RACE: Are We So Different? exhibition, along with new virtual experiences and activities and new offerings for school and family audiences online. Three complementary museum experiences will be available in the following months: the Smithsonian’s The Bias Inside Us exhibition; the Skin: Living Armour, Evolving Identity exhibition, and the Green Card STEM Voices exhibition. These offerings collectively make up Science is All of Us, which will run through early April 2021. 

What steps are you taking to keep staff and visitors safe while in the building? 

  • Engineering controls will be implemented for exposure reduction solutions, such as increasing HVAC ventilation and enhanced air filter supply exchange circulation.

  • Regular and frequent housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of shared surfaces, equipment, tools and machinery, and areas in the work environment, including restrooms, break, lunch rooms, and meeting rooms.  

  • Implementation of cleaning risk mitigation strategies and disinfection of public spaces and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons, vending machines, push plates, stair rails, restroom fixtures, countertops, faucet handles, and water fountains will remain an elevated priority. 

  • Designated custodial staff will focus on frequently touched surfaces utilizing EPA-registered disinfectants, based on OSHA standards, CDC directives, and MDH recommendations. To hinder transmission and cross-contamination during all public operational and scheduled business hours, a dedicated custodial disinfection specialist will use an electrostatic sanitizing atomizer, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) surface testing, and approved purification agents as recommended. 

Is it possible that the museum will close again if case numbers of COVID-19 go up?We’re monitoring the situation very closely and following the lead of local and state health officials. We will be flexible should experts recommend a different course of action. 

Since the situation is changing so rapidly, where can I get the most up-to-date information on operations and hours? 
Keep an eye on smm.org, subscribe to our email updates, and follow us on social media for the latest updates.

Is food service available?
Our partners at Bootstrap Coffee Roasters will offer a selection of pastries, grab and go items, and beverages from their location in the lobby during museum hours. You are also free to bring your own meal and enjoy it up on level six, which is our designated dining area. 

Other museums are already open. Why did it take the Science Museum so long to reopen?
When the Governor called for indoor entertainment venues to close just before the holiday season to help flatten the curve, the Science Museum’s Senior Leadership moved forward with a plan for a fifteen-week closure to help us preserve our resources and be in the best position to reopen to serve visitors in the spring. As part of that plan, we entered 2021 with a reduced staffing capacity. We are eager to welcome back our temporarily laid off staff as we prepare for our reopening. 

What changes should I expect compared to pre-COVID visits?
You’ll still be able to explore the dinosaurs, snap selfies with the giant astronaut, race against your favorite athletes in Sportsology, and much more. New practices include: 

  • Advanced timed ticketing for museum and Omnitheater entry

  • Safely-spaced seating in the Omnitheater

  • Online payment and contactless payment in the Explore Store

  • More space between exhibit components to support social distancing, with any components that can’t be quickly or frequently disinfected removed.  

  • Wider walkways

  • Drinking fountains will be turned off and unavailable for use

  • Safety reminders throughout the premises

  • Limited entry to elevators and other enclosed spaces 

Why should I become or stay a Member if you’re operating in a  limited capacity?
If you were a Member in March 2020 when the pandemic hit, your Membership was extended for the length of our first closure—five months. We’re excited to welcome you back for a fun and safe science learning experience. We hope you’ll also take advantage of your exclusive virtual Member benefits and events, Omnitheater extras, and content we’re creating just for Members. In addition, Members will have exclusive access to the museum from 9–10 a.m. every day the museum is open.

Members are an essential part of our community. We rely on your support to power so much of the science we do at the museum—including creating digital activities and educational resources and providing safe learning space and programs for students during the pandemic with programs like our Full STEM Ahead program. 

What are some best practices for my visit? 
Staff, volunteers, and visitors are instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching their faces, in particular their mouth, nose, and eyes with their hands. You should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands immediately afterwards. This respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters throughout the museum. 

In addition to mask-wearing and practicing social distancing, please also take advantage of hand sanitizing stations placed throughout the building. All restrooms have touchless faucets, soap dispensers, and towel dispensers.

Is it safe to shop in the Explore Store?
When handling objects, all Explore Store staff will adhere to basic COVID-19 disinfection strategies and personal safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health departments. We have also placed high-touch items, such as plush items, to display areas so that staff members can provide them to customers upon request. 

We also offer easy online shopping on smm.org/store and pick up at the store.

What’s the cost of parking in the Science Museum ramp?
Parking at the Science Museum will be a $5 flat fee. Parking will be free for Members through June.

I have free tickets that expired during your closure. Can I still use them once you reopen?
Yes. Expiration dates on all existing free tickets have been extended through December 2021. To redeem your complimentary passes, make an advance reservation by phone at (651) 221-9444. Please note that this time, complimentary passes can only be redeemed via phone reservations. 

I’m not comfortable visiting the museum yet. What distance-learning services are you providing? 
We’re still dedicated to keeping you connected from a distance! Discover new topics on our Learn From Home page and social media. Members can also join and add a comment to the discussions in the Members-exclusive Facebook group, and anyone can subscribe to our newsletter for more science activities and stories.  
If your question is not on the list, please contact us; museum representatives are happy to assist you. Policies and procedures are subject to change based on public health best practices and recommendations from public health officials.