Mystic Seaport Museum Plans Partial Reopening

Outdoor museums and zoos are included in the first phase of the state's plan for reopening.

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The Mystic Seaport Museum is one of many tourist attractions across the state preparing for a potential reopening.

If phase one of the state's reopening plan moves forward, outdoor museums and zoos will be included in the various businesses that are allowed to reopen on May 20.

"We are very excited to reopen, but we are being extremely cautious in how to do it," said Dan McFadden, spokesperson for the Mystic Seaport Museum.

According to McFadden, the museum has been discussing reopening plans with Gov. Ned Lamont. Pending plan approval, the staff is working to reopen on May 23. The museum would be open for outdoor use only and would function like a park.

"We will not be able to open up our indoor exhibits, but we will be able to invite people to come to our grounds, check out the river, enjoy the buildings," said McFadden. "Just be out with the family and get out of the house in a safe way."

McFadden said that the team has mapped out that upwards of 800 people can fit on the grounds at a safe social distance, however they are going to start off by capping visitors at 250 and adjust from there.

"It is very complicated planning, but we will not open unless we are certain that people can be here and be safe," said McFadden.

McFadden said that there have not been decisions made on admission cost or any concrete plans on the potential of moving some indoor exhibits outside.

The Mystic Seaport Museum has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the museum to layoff workers and change the way they operate, shifting gears to a digital museum.

The museum is sharing educational videos and tours online. They have also been hosting seven different events on Zoom a week. According to McFadden, they have had people from across the world tune in for the virtual events.

The Mystic Aquarium has also been virtually connecting with people throughout the pandemic. They host an educational Facebook live video daily at 11 a.m.

According to a spokesperson for the aquarium, they are having discussions regarding reopening, writing in a statement:

"With Governor Lamont’s recent announcement on Connecticut’s reopening plans, Mystic Aquarium is working diligently to implement  protocols to ensure the health and safety of our staff, guests and animals with the goal of opening as soon as it is safe to do so and in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order."

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