RALEIGH, N.C.-- Museums across North Carolina were forced to shut their doors earlier this year due to COVID- 19. But now with the state moving into Phase 2.5, those like the North Carolina Museum of History are opening back up but with a lot of changes in place.

Each year, the history museum says they host 465,000 visitors a year, including more than 83,000 school groups. But when the coronavirus forced them to close up shop, donations and funding also took a hit. Spectrum News 1 anchor Caroline Blair sat down with the museum’s director, Ken Howard, to explain the impact COVID-19 has had on the museum financially, and the steps they’re taking to keep patrons and employees safe.

While some museums like the N.C. Museum of Art are already open with limited capacity, the N.C. Museum of History will officially open its doors to the public on Thursday. If you plan to attend, here is what you need to know:

  • Visitors are limited to 250 people at a time in the museum, to allow a comfortable visit to the museum
  • Cloth masks are required to enter the museum, as outlined in Executive Order 163
  • All exhibits are open except the smaller Tar Heel Junior Historian Discovery Gallery
  • Hand sanitizer stations are installed
  • Cleaning is increased at high touch public areas and restrooms
  • Protective barriers are installed at sales counters and information desks
  • The Museum Shop is open with reduced hours and limited capacity
  • Interactive exhibit features are paused or modified
  • A map highlights safety measures like sanitizer stations, and removed, blocked or “no-touch” visitor experiences
  • A QR code is available for a touchless experience
  • Admission is FREE.

Hours of operation will be as follows:

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. for immune-compromised and senior citizens
  • Tuesday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. for the general public
  • Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. for the general public

The NC Museum of Art opened on September 9.

The NC Museum of Natural Science opens on September 22.