Sidney Museum and Archives reopened its doors Wednesday, by rolling out a fan favourite.
Its ever-popular Lego exhibit will greet visitors once the facility reopens after closing March 14 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibit — which has historically drawn large crowds to the facility — will remain up until July 11. The facility will close again, so staff can install the two next exhibits scheduled to open July 16.
Alyssa Gerwing, assistant director, said in a release the facility will operate on a reduced schedule during this graduated reopening, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
The museum is picking up where it left off, as the Lego exhibition was showing before the pandemic forced the closure.
Visitors will have to register online for a pre-determined time slot before entering the gallery, with their admission timed. Visitors will be able access hand sanitizer throughout the museum, where signs and route markers will help them physically distance, she said. Staff have also changed the floor plan to allow for single direction traffic flow through the facility, and washrooms will remain closed for the time being. Admission is by donation, which can also be made online at sidneymuseum.ca.
While the museum was closed for more than three months, staff have been far from idle. After securing a federal grant, staff have been moving all of the museum’s 8,700 objects out of the storage room to install preventative disaster protection measures for flood, fire and seismic events. These improvements are following a method that will allow the museum to curate a more organized and better utilized space, thereby ensuring that the collection remains accessible with space to grow. Gerwing said the work started in June to be wrapped up in October.
“In addition, we are working to change the layout of the [museum] by moving some walls to improve flow, accommodate reopening requirements, and allow space for projects to occur behind-the-scenes,” she said earlier this month.
Staff have also been on working on a number of projects, including grant applications, administrative work, archives reference questions and much more, she said, adding that a number of digital initiatives should appear in the coming weeks.
“In short, there is a ton going on at Sidney Museum as we work to serve our community safely in whatever capacity we can,” she said. “We look forward to seeing everyone again, once we can welcome them safely, and we appreciate the support shown by individuals and businesses who have donated through our website to help offset the cost of our lost donations.”
The announced reopening of the facility aligns with the growing number of public facilities reopening. They include among others the Sidney/North Saanich branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (it has been offering take-out service since June 11) and the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea now open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with last entry on 4 p.m. as well as on statutory holidays.
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