Shelburne Museum plans to reopen on July 30 after closing its doors in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will allow visitors Thursday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and advance ticketing will be required. There are two available time periods: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. or 1-4. pm.

Before coming to the museum, all visitors, including members, need to reserve a ticket online.

Thomas Denenberg, the museum’s director, said, “The whole experience is designed to be one which is socially distant.”

He said with the new museum experience, masks will be mandatory for all visitors and staff. The admissions desk will be providing masks for those who don’t have their own, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the grounds.

The museum will be up and running, just under a different format. Denenberg said, “We’ve converted the store into a touch-free Visitor Center. So you get a timed ticket before you come to the museum. You pass through the visitor center downloading a map without having interaction with anything in the store, and then there are three buildings that are open as well as the ground.”

Admission will be free for all visitors from July 30 until September 6. After that, through October 11, tickets will be $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-17, free for children under 5.

Museum members will still have free admission.

The free entry coupled with COVID-19 closing the museum down back in March could pose a possible financial threat to the museum. Denengerg said that throughout the pandemic, “The people who are closest to the museum, major donors and trustees, have really doubled their giving. But so far we’re seeing the number of gifts is off, and is what we expected.”

The museum reopening, “is fundamentally for the community,” said Denenberg. “It’s really for Vermonters. It’s a way of fighting off cabin fever. People are running out of doing the same walks and hikes that they’ve done for the last few months. This adds a little bit of novelty to the day and that’s important,” he said.

A lot of families in Chittenden County are used to bringing their kids to the museum and doing a lab in the course of a day. Denenberg said, “The museum reopening will offer a little bit of normalcy for them.”

The indoor galleries, the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, featuring Creature Comfort: Animals in the House, the Pleissner Gallery, and the Webb Gallery of American Art will be available to visitors – with capacity limits. There will also be an outdoor exhibition by sculptor Peter Kirkiles, Peter Kirkiles: At Scale.

Denenberg said, “It will be a very different experience. People are used to exploring 39 buildings and we’ll have three open. So it will be a new place of contemplation, walking the gardens, seeing the public sculpture installation, Peter Cook Lee’s sculpture installation. So there will be something new for people to see to spark a little creativity.”

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