By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
‘Walk This Way.” “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.” “Check Your Head.”
These aren’t just favorite albums and songs – they’re directives on how to enjoy the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, which reopened this past Monday, June 15.
“Museums and museum professionals think about this all the time,” said Hall President Greg Harris, an alumnus of both the Cooperstown Graduate School and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
How to create a flow – the do’s and dont’s of touching artifacts – so in this heightened moment, museums are perfectly positioned to work with these stringent guidelines, but still create a memorable experience.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed the museum in March, Harris and his staff began working on plans to reopen.
“We put together a task force and got in touch with museums all over the country,” he said.
We were working with the CDC recommendations, as well as recommendations from the American Association of Museums, which has been very involved in shaping those requirements for us.”
A new online ticketing system was built, allowing guests to buy tickets via the Internet ahead of time for a specific time slot to ensure that the museum is not over capacity. Touch-free sliding glass doors were installed, and floor decals were placed throughout the museum to allow visitors to proceed safely.
Dead-end galleries, like the one that housed Vans Warped Tour, were closed, he said.
Visitors and employees will be subject to temperature screenings by nursing students hired by the museum. “If your temperature is over 100, you can’t come in,” he said. “And masks will be required. If you come without a mask, we’ll give you one.”
Or, he said, souvenir masks are available in the gift shop.
In addition to the museum itself, there were dining, retail and theater spaces to consider, each with its own set of regulations.
“All the surveys we did said that people were more inclined to be outdoors,” he said. “We’ve reconfigured our beer garden and food trucks, and we’re going to start having live music, which a lot of people have missed.”
Among those slated to play live performances are his son, Cooperstown native Jack Harris, whose song “No One Listens” has received radio airplay in Cleveland.
In the theaters, every other row will be cordoned off to best accommodate social distancing.
Last Sunday, June 13, the first guests were welcomed to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a free event for health care workers and their families.
“We’re reopening as a stronger museum,” said Harris.