Visitors will soon be able to roam the halls of Charlotte’s cultural institutions, albeit with capacity restrictions and updated safety protocols.
Museums have been closed for nearly six months due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing many to innovate with virtual programming. Now that the institutions can reopen at 50% capacity under North Carolina’s Phase 2.5, museum officials are sharing details on what that looks like.
Here’s what we know so far about the plans for Charlotte-area museums. Check back for updates.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art announced it will reopen Sept. 25 with free admission through Sept. 27.
Masks are required for staff and visitors. (Masks will be available for free at the front desk.) Guests will see social distancing signage to guide them during their visit, sanitary barriers at admissions, and hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the museum.
Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Dr.
Charlotte Museum of History will reopen to the public in phases, according to its website. The staff is testing the waters with an Afternoon on the Grounds outdoor experience on Sept. 19. Guests will have to register in advance and admission will be limited to support social distancing.
Discovery Place Kids, 105 Gilead Rd., Huntersville
Discovery Place Nature, 1658 Sterling Rd.
Discovery Place Science, 301 N Tryon St.
All Discovery Place locations are following the trend of opening to members before the general public. Its members-only weekend begins Sept. 19. Once all sites reopen, new hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the first hour reserved for members.
Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville (there’s also a location in Rockingham, North Carolina) will publicly open on Sept. 23 and then operate Wednesdays through Sundays.
Timed tickets must be purchased in advance. Visitors arriving after their designated time will not be admitted and there is no re-entry. Each visitor will undergo temperature scans and health screenings before entering any of the sites. Face coverings are required for anyone older than age 2.
See the full list of reopening procedures here.
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture announced it will reopen with modified hours starting Oct. 1. The operating schedule is Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (extended hours through 8 p.m. on Oct. 2, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4).
All staff and guests will be required to wear masks. Visitors should expect other safety measures like hand sanitizing stations, sneeze guard shields at check-in points and disabled water fountains.
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
Levine Museum of the New South will initially reopen to members with a special members’ day on Sept. 18. Effective Sept. 19, the general public can visit the museum four days a week (Friday – Monday).
Matthews Heritage Museum
232 N. Trade St., Matthews
Housed in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Matthews, the Matthews Heritage Museum is a look back at the town at the turn of the century.
Doors open to the public on Sept. 10. Only five guests will be allowed at a time, and reservations are encouraged. (Drop-in guests will be allowed if there aren’t other visitors in the museum.) They’re asking visitors to wear masks and practice social distancing.
The Mint Museum
Mint Musuem Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Rd.
The Mint Museum is throwing a weekend celebration at both locations Sept. 25-27. Admission will be free. (Mint members can visit both locations starting Sept. 22.)
New safety measures include mask requirements for all staff and guests. They’re implementing timed passes to follow capacity mandates. To help guide through the galleries, a life-size cutout of Queen Charlotte wearing a mask and holding a 6-foot-tall scepter will serve as a measure for social distancing.
“This is the great news we’ve been waiting for over the last five and a half months,” Todd Herman, Mint Museum’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame will open to members on Sept. 12-13 and to the general public on Sept. 16 at reduced capacity. Operating hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, with Tuesdays reserved for private groups and special events.
Face coverings are required for staff and visitors, and guests are encouraged to purchase tickets online. Additionally, the Hall will provide visitors with a free stylus to accommodate no-touch interactions with touch-screen exhibits. View other safety protocols here.
Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia
Members can get early access to the Schiele Museum of Natural History Sept. 8-10. Doors will open to the public beginning Sept. 11. All admission tickets must be purchased in advance through the museum’s website. Tickets will be limited and timed to control visitor flow and regular sanitizing of the building.
Every guest age 5 and up will be required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth. Check out the museum’s FAQ page to see which exhibits and attractions are closed.
Wells Fargo Museum
401 S. Tryon St.
Did you know that a museum sat inside the Three Wells Fargo building in uptown Charlotte? If you’ve walked along Tryon Street, you’ve probably seen the iconic stagecoach through the window. The Wells Fargo Museum highlighted not only the bank’s history but also gold mining in North Carolina and the beginnings of Wachovia.
Although the museums have been empty for months, Wall Street Journal reported the bank will shut down 11 of its 12 museums, only keeping the one located in its San Francisco headquarters. According to the article, the decisions were driven by “an evolution of the bank’s brand.”