Reagan Museum and Institute is Reimagining a New Museum Experience
On March 14, 2020, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum closed temporarily due to COVID-19. Up until that point, the museum had been open 7 days a week, and had seen approximately 370,000-400,000 visitors each year, including 4-5 school tours a day and numerous adult tours. Today, due to COVID-19, the museum is still closed, but Foundation staff are working behind the scenes to prepare for reopening- when that date comes.
Although Ventura County just moved into California’s “red tier” which allows indoor museums to re-open at a 25% capacity, The Reagan Library and Museum must also follow special guidance from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to reopen, and is currently planning considerable measures to ensure guest and staff safety upon reopening. “We just want to make sure that when we open, we’re not in a position of having to close again.” said Laurie Woolsoncroft Cook, Director of Visitor Services at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Upon reopening, patrons will be required to purchase tickets online, as a means to monitor the number of tickets sold and provide dedicated time slots for entry. Doing this will help manage crowds, especially for the upcoming new FBI Exhibit- and ensure that NARA guidelines and appropriate social distancing guidelines are being met.
Changes to the museum’s two theaters have already been made; with reduced seating to enforce social distancing. Interactive areas now have hand sanitizing stations near-by, and social-distancing markers have been placed throughout the museum and lobby to help guests maintain proper distancing guidelines. Additionally, museum staff will be required to wear a mask, and patrons will be asked to do the same.
As the museum remains temporarily closed, there are still various ways for supporters to stay connected. “We do have a lot of virtual events, and we have a constant stream of events that we’ve moved to online. We just want to keep ourselves out there in the forefront so that people know we are still here and just waiting for the doors to reopen so we can welcome everyone back,” said Cook.
A list of upcoming virtual events, conversations, and podcasts can be found here. Foundation staff has also been reaching out to their membership base of 35,000 people, making phone calls to check-in and let them know that the highly anticipated FBI Exhibit will now begin on February 6, 2021.
“It’s important to us to let everyone know that we’re still here and that everyday we’re monitoring the developments so that we can reopen our doors and welcome everybody back...we all look forward to that because that’s what we enjoy is being able to welcome our visitors from all over the world.”