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Here’s When Pennsylvania’s Best Museums are Reopening

By Julia Hatmaker


Pennsylvania, get ready to get your culture on.

Museums across the state are reopening starting on Jan. 4, thanks to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions put into place by Governor Tom Wolf. When they reopen, though, don’t expect it to be like 2019 all over again. There will still be some precautions -- limited capacity, the encouragement of social distancing and a requirement to wear masks. The main exception is Philadelphia, where museums are still waiting to get the go-ahead to reopen from the city, which has more restrictions than the state. Closing down for three weeks was a “challenge,” in the words of Jill Manley, senior communications director for the M.S. Hershey Foundation which operates The Hershey Story museum in downtown Hershey. “It has been a struggle,” she said, regarding dealing with the pandemic. “But we have scaled back expenses dramatically and we’ll come back next year stronger than ever.” Museums across the country have been struggling since lockdowns began in March, with the American Alliance of Museums noting that 30 percent of museums have yet to reopen, and those that have have spent an average of $30,000 to meet safety guidelines. Museums have also had to drastically reduce their staff, with an estimated 30 percent of workers being laid off according to the American Alliance of Museums. But community support has been strong, especially for the Susquehanna Art Museum. Executive director Alice Anne Schwab said the museum had been lucky to get government grants and receive generous donations to help them navigate this tough time. “People recognize the real challenges museums face,” she said. “I have to believe people don’t want to see museums close.” Reopening brings its own questions, according to Rusty Baker, executive director of PA Museums. The museums may open, but will people feel safe enough to visit? “Ultimately, the public will make decisions about whether they trust museums to have a safe environment for them to return to,” Baker said. “So it’s important for museums to comply with cleaning protocols and whatever recommendations there are regarding capacity.” Even if visitors don’t come out, museums will likely keep up their robust virtual programming. “Depending on people’s appetite for online content in the future, museums have positioned themselves to be prepared to give people a choice to do something for real or on a screen,” Baker said. But for now, museums are just ready to welcome guests back. Here’s when 17 museums are slated to reopen in January 2021: ALLEGHENY COUNTY The Andy Warhol Museum Opens Jan. 4 Explore several floors worth of art by the Pittsburgh native, as well as archival materials. DETAILS: The Andy Warhol Museum at 117 Sandusky St., Pittsburgh. Cost: $20 adults, $10 children and seniors (65+), free for children under 3. Warhol.org; 412-237-8300. Carnegie Museum of Art Opens Jan. 4 You’ll find work by Van Gogh, Monet and more, as well furniture and decorative arts by Tiffany, Peter Voulkos and Ron Arad. DETAILS: Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh. Cost: $19.95 adults, $14.95 seniors (65+), 11.95 for children (3-18) and students with ID, free for children (2 and under). cmoa.org. Carnegie Museum of Natural History Opens Jan. 4 Learn all about dinosaurs, minerals and animals at this gem of a natural history museum in Pittsburgh. DETAILS: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh. Cost: $19.95 adults, $14.95 seniors, $11.95 children (ages 3-18) and free for children 2 and younger. Carnegiemnh.org; 412-622-3131. Carnegie Science Center Opens Jan. 4 “Mummies of the World: The Exhibition” will be the star of the Carnegie Science Center, which will host the temporary exhibit through Jan. 18. DETAILS: Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave., Pittsburgh. Cost: $19.95 adults, $14.95 seniors (65+), $11.95 children, free for children under 3. carnegiesciencecenter.org; 412-237-3400. Fort Pitt Museum Opens Jan. 9 Fort Pitt has played a valuable role in military history in America, including the French and Indian War and American Revolution. This museum tells its story. DETAILS: Fort Pitt Museum, 601 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh. Cost: $8 adults, $7 seniors (ages 62 and older), $4.50 students and free for children (ages 5 and under). heinzhistorycenter.org/fort-pitt; 412-281-9284. Heinz History Center Opens Jan. 9 This history museum takes you through Pittsburgh’s past and is the home to a large collection of artifacts from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and the Heinz company. DETAILS: Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., Pittsburgh. Cost: $18 adults, $15 seniors (ages 62 and older), $9 students and free for children (up to age 17). heinzhistorycenter.org; 412-454-6000. BERKS COUNTY Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles Opens Jan. 4 You’ll find horse-drawn carriages, early automobiles and more at this historical tour of transportation vehicles. DETAILS: Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, 85 S. Walnut St., Boyertown. Cost: $10 adults, $9 seniors (60+), free for children under 15. Boyertownmuseum.org; 610-367-2090. Reading Public Museum Opens Jan. 4 Stop by the Reading Public Museum to see antiques and artifacts from around the world, including an Egyptian mummy, dinosaur bones and Mayan relics. DETAILS: Reading Public Museum at 500 Museum Road, Reading. Cost: $10 adults, $6 seniors (65+), children (age 4-17) and college students with ID, free for children 3 and younger. readingpublicmuseum.org; 610-371-5850. Fonthill Castle, in Doylestown, was built between 1908 and 1912, by archaeologist and tilemaker Henry Chapman Mercer, who also designed it. Julia Hatmaker, jhatmaker@pennlive.comHAR BUCKS COUNTY Fonthill Castle Opens Jan. 9 An eclectic castle built by Henry Mercer and filled with 44 different rooms. DETAILS: Fonthill Castle at East Court St. and Route 313, Doylestown. Cost: $15 adults, $13 seniors (ages 65 and up), $8 youth (6-17), free for children 5 and younger. mercermuseum.org; 215-348-9461. Mercer Museum Opens Jan. 4 A collection of objects chronicling everyday life in America before the advent of the industrial age. DETAILS: Mercer Museum at 84 S. Pine St., Doylestown. Cost: $15 adults, $13 seniors (ages 65 and up), $8 youth (6-17), free for children 5 and younger. mercermuseum.org; 215-345-0210. BUTLER COUNTY Maridon Museum Opens Jan. 6 This western Pennsylvania museum is dedicated to Asian art and German Meissen porcelain. DETAILS: The Maridon Museum, 322 N. McKean St., Butler. Cost: $4 adults, $3 seniors and students, free for children under 8 years old. maridon.org; 724-282-0123. The exterior of the new Susquehanna Art Museum. Friday January 9th 2014. Daniel Zampogna, PennliveDaniel Zampogna, Pennlive DAUPHIN COUNTY AACA Museum Opens Jan. 4 Explore the history of automobiles and transportation at this museum, which has a vast collection including minibikes, the Kissmobile Cruiser, and cars dating back to 1904. DETAILS: 161 Museum Drive, Hershey. Cost: $12.50 adults, $11.50 seniors (ages 61 and up), $9.50 children (ages 4-12), free for children 3 and younger. Aacamuseum.org; 717-566-7100. Art Association of Harrisburg Opens Jan. 4 The art museum will reopen with the “Observations and Experiences” exhibition, which has been extended through Feb. 18. The exhibit showcases the work of Maureen Joyce, Carden Holland, Julie Riker and Peg Belcastro. DETAILS: Art Association of Harrisburg at 21 N. Front St., Harrisburg. artassocofhbg.com; 717-236-1432. The Hershey Story Opens Jan. 4 Learn how Milton Hershey went from a failed entrepreneur to the biggest name in chocolate at this museum. DETAILS: The Hershey Story, 63 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey. Cost: $13.50 adults, $12 seniors (62+), $9.50 juniors (ages 3-12). hersheystory.org; 717-534-8939. Susquehanna Art Museum Opens Jan. 12 This Harrisburg museum of art is excited to reopen to show off two exhibitions that have been extended. There’s “The Modernists: Witnesses to the 20th Century,” which showcases the work of artists who witnessed and participated in World War I and World War II. The exhibit has been extended through May 16. The second exhibit is “Sun + Light” in the Lobby Gallery, which showcases the work of Charles Edward Williams, who documented the 1960s Civil Rights movement and activists from then to today. That exhibit has been extended through April 11. DETAILS: 1401 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. Cost: $8 adults, $5 military, students and seniors (62 and older), free for children 12 and under. susquehannaartmuseum.org; 717-233-8668. DELAWARE COUNTY Brandywine River Museum of Art Opens Jan. 4 This art museum will reopen with the Ann Wyeth McCoy dollhouse display exhibit. DETAILS: Brandywine River Museum of Art at 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford. Cost: $18 adults, $15 seniors (ages 65 and up), $6 students, free for children 5 and younger. Brandywine.org; 610-388-2700. The Allentown Art Museum at dusk. Photo by Matt Wargo. LEHIGH COUNTY Allentown Art Museum Opens Jan. 8 The art museum is ready to reopen and excited to host the “Rembrandt Revealed” exhibit starting on Jan. 23 for members and Jan. 24 for the general public. DETAILS: Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. 5th St., Allentown. Cost: allentownartmuseum.org; 610-432-4333.


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