The West End Museum was scheduled to reopen to the public yesterday, Wednesday July 29, following its four-and-a-half month closure due to the pandemic.
“We are excited to invite our members, friends, and the public back into the Museum and have worked hard to ensure a safe environment for all,” Sebastian Belfanti, museum director, said in a press release. “While we have connected digitally with our members and followers throughout our closure, that is no substitute for the in-person experience of the museum. We can’t wait to see your faces, even under masks.”
While it will keep its regular “pre-pandemic” hours, the museum at 150 Lomasney Way will adhere to its own phased reopening plan, which Belfanti conceived and was approved by the board of directors in May before undergoing further revisions in accordance with the state’s safety requirements.
The museum’s two interconnected rooms will be limited to 10 occupants (nine visitors and one staff member) at a time, while public restrooms will remain closed for the time being. New signage and tape markings on the floor will be visible to notify museumgoers of the changes, and visitors will no longer be able to roam the premises as freely as they could before in keeping with social-distancing guidelines. The museum will also be sanitized more frequently and thoroughly that it was before it closed in March.
“It’ll be interesting and it’s probably going to be slow-going at first,” Belfanti told this reporter last week in anticipation of the museum’s reopening. “We’re really going to have to be super careful to keep [conditions] safe for staff and visitors,” We hope people will come, but we want to make sure that everyone is wearing masks and that our older members are safe.”
Another change from the pre-pandemic days is that Belfanti alone is on hand to greet guests and give museum tours, as opposed to before when two staff members handled the duties. The staff members are eager to return, but since they’re both seniors, Belfanti said they wouldn’t be back for two weeks to ensure their safety.
In the meantime, the West End Museum is also revamping its website, as well as redesigning its floor-plan, which will be unveiled to the public in the near future. But for now, the museum is pleased just to welcome guests back.
“We’re just happy to have people back,” Belfanti said.
Visit thewestendmuseum.org for more information.