The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is committed to the safety of our visitors and staff. The fundamental nature of the Museum (high-touch, hands-on experiences, coupled with social interactions) makes it especially important that we reopen slowly and cautiously, with as much research and planning as possible, and along with extensive new safety measures in place.
The Museum intends to continue reopening with small groups invited in to experience some modified parts of the Museum, including a brand-new health and wellness gallery: All About You!. We are not currently open for normal business hours.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why aren’t you open? When will you open?
The global coronavirus pandemic presents us with unprecedented challenges, and we are working hard to find safe and effective ways to meet those challenges. The Museum is designed to be a social experience, filled with tactile learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. Current scientific knowledge about the spread of coronavirus tells us that air-born transmission during indoor social gatherings are the primary means of spread. The safety of our visitors and staff are our highest priority. The Museum will open further as new treatments and vaccines become widely distributed, and we can safely increase the number of people within our spaces. Click here for more information.
With the State of Michigan's adjustment to masking rules, we have lifted the requirement for masks at the Museum starting Saturday, June 26. We continue to respectfully encourage masks for anyone unvaccinated, recognizing our primary audience cannot currently be vaccinated. Here is the full announcement from the state of Michigan: Rescission of Emergency Orders.
Please note, out of respect for our youngest visitors who cannot yet be vaccinated, our staff and volunteers will continue to wear masks in all public spaces.
If you wish to provide feedback on our policy change, we are accepting feedback through this brief 3-question survey. If you are looking for your own private time at the museum, where you would control who attends and masks within the space, please consider booking a Private Pod time.
How are you handling membership extensions due to your closure?
All membership accounts that were active during the month of March 2020 or later will automatically be extended for the length of the temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our membership team will be sending letters to confirm new expiration dates for members when the Museum reopens with a regular ongoing schedule. For specific inquiries about your membership, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why don’t you allow food onsite?
We are temporarily closing our onsite vending and snack area due to the nature of such a high-contact space. We will make an exception for water bottles, and visitors are welcome to bring their own bottles and use our water bottle-filling station in the lobby. Drinking fountains have been turned off.
Will the Preschool Gallery be open?
Yes, for most events the Preschool Gallery will be open with most of the favorite exhibits, including the ball machine, the climbers, and the water table. However, most of the small toys, puzzles, plastic food, etc. have been temporarily removed.
How is H2Oh! – the water gallery – cleaned?
The H2Oh! Exhibit is designed with several safety features, including a sand filtration system and an UV sterilization system. The water is drained and replaced multiple times per week, and treated with a mild bromine solution.
Are the bubble exhibits safe?
The bubble solution we use is a mixture of water and Dawn dish soap. Soap breaks down the virus very effectively. Because of this, it’s actually a very safe space to enjoy as long as families practice safe and respective hygiene practices.
"Soap molecules attach to and disrupt the outer protective lipid (fatty) layer of COVID-19, breaking it apart and destroying the virus." Reference: Mayo Clinic https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/covid-19-expert-explains-w...
Why are some of the smaller spaces like the 4th floor closed?
Recent reports about COVID-19 show how important proper ventilation and air flow are. The larger, high-ceiling galleries in the Museum have roof-top HVAC systems with extensive outside air intake. However, some of the smaller galleries have residential HVAC units and do not have the same level of ventilation. For that reason, we have decided to keep these areas temporarily closed. Reference: World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-ventilation-and-air-conditioning-in-public-spaces-and-buildings-and-covid-19
Why are you limiting the capacity of visitors?
Following the Washtenaw Health Department’s guidelines, we remain well under the required limit to allow proper social distancing. We set our initial limit well below the guidelines in order to allow for proper social distancing and to give our visitors the freedom to move around the space as safely as possible. We will continue to re-evaluate our capacity as we see how well the visitor flow works.
Will I be able to shop at the Hands-On Store?
Yes, the store will be open during the same hours that the Museum is open.