Please Touch Museum is Reopening!
After more than a year, PTM is ready to play again this April.
This is not a drill! Make your reservations and get your hand sanitizer ready because, after more than a year of being closed due to COVID-19, the Please Touch Museum will reopen on Thursday, April 22. Even better, they’re offering free admission from April 22-25 and May 1-2 to celebrate the reopening, including fun giveaways!
If you’re a member of the museum, you can return as early as April 8, as the two weekends prior to opening are members-only. New memberships are available for those who wish to come to the museum during those first two weekends. If you were a member prior to the museum’s closing, your membership will be reactivated with no time lost.
“We are delighted to welcome children and their families back to Please Touch Museum after our extended closure due to the pandemic,” said Patricia D. Wellenbach, President and CEO. “The quiet of Memorial Hall over these past 13 months has been surreal and something we never expected when we first shut our doors last year.”
New Exhibits (and Temporary Closures)
The Playhouse Theatre, Torch, Monorail, and CHOP areas are temporarily closed due to safety measures. Additionally, the supermarket area is closed for a very exciting redesign– look for a much larger updated market and kitchen in Fall 2021.
Meanwhile, there are two new permanent exhibits to look forward to on your return. The Makerspace Studio downstairs (across from the Creative Arts Studio) will be a dedicated space for open-ended exploration. Focused on process and creativity, the workbench-filled space has tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, drills, saws, hot glue guns, wrenches, measuring tape, levels, electrical wires, and more! Kids are free to explore the space and materials, or can take part in the project of the day with guidance from museum educators. While little kids can certainly participate and enjoy the Makerspace, a great aspect of this new space is that it “ages up” the Please Touch Museum so that school-age kids can enjoy it as much as their younger friends.
Also downstairs is the much-anticipated Centennial Innovations exhibit. With the City of Philadelphia’s historic model of the 1876 World’s Fair as a central feature of this new permanent exhibit, kids will ask big questions like “Why change the world?” and, if you could change the world, what would it look like? With multi-sensory interactives emphasizing the diverse people and inventions that made history in 1876, visitors will be inspired to brainstorm their own answers to this all-important question.
You may remember this room as the old-timey wood-paneled room with the giant model town and train tracks in the center. And while that miniature world is still at the center, the rest of the space has been completely revamped in a way that is current, bright, spacious, and much more fun. Kids can manipulate touch screens to plan the perfect town, draw on the walls of a dry-erase mural, learn about innovators, solve problems, and even stand at a podium that lights up to give their big speech about how they’d like to change the world!
Know Before You Go
Masks are required for all staff and all guests age 2 and up. Touchless hand sanitizing stations have also been installed throughout the museum. Dr. Barbara Klock, a pediatrician and the Medical Advisor to the School District of Philadelphia, helped review the museum’s reopening plan, which is in full compliance with CDC, state, and city health guidelines.
The museum will be cleaned with hospital-grade and EPA-approved cleaning products between the morning and afternoon session and a cleaning company will sanitize the museum each evening after visitors. High-touch surfaces and restrooms will be cleaned throughout the day. For now, they have removed all plush, cloth, and soft props; costumes, smocks and hats; and are reducing props in each exhibit by 50 percent.
In order to make the experience safe, capacity will be limited, and online reservations are required for your desired “session.” The museum will now be open Thursdays – Sundays with morning sessions (9 am – noon) and afternoon sessions (1:30 – 4:30 pm) with a midday closure for cleaning and sanitizing. PTM will be closed to visitors Mondays through Wednesdays for deep cleaning.
The Please Touch Museum is located at 4231 Avenue of the Republic in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.
Photographs by Laura Swartz