Philadelphia’s Museums Jointly Announce Reopening With Health + Safety Priorities


Following a closure of more than three months to protect against the spread of COVID-19, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum have jointly announced plans to reopen with new health and safety protocols for staff and visitors, as state and city restrictions begin to lift.

Each cultural institution is determining its own opening date based on internal factors. Currently, The Franklin Institute will be the first to reopen on Wednesday, July 8, followed by the Barnes Foundation on Saturday, July 25 (with member previews on July 23, 24, and the morning of July 25), the Academy of Natural Sciences on Friday, July 31 (with member previews on July 24, 25 and 26), and PAFA on Saturday, September 12 (with previews for members and essential frontline workers September 3, 4, 5 and 6).

Eastern State Penitentiary and the Philadelphia Museum of Art — along with the Rodin Museum — expect to announce reopening dates and hours in the coming weeks. As all institutions continue to follow guidance from the state and city, plans and opening dates are subject to change.

The Barnes Foundation on Wedensday, May 2, 2018, in Philadlephia. (Photo by Michael Perez)

After months of thorough planning and close coordination with one another, the cultural institutions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Eastern State Penitentiary and PAFA look forward to once again welcoming visitors for rejuvenating cultural experiences, with the safety and well-being of staff, visitors and the broader community at top of mind. To ensure everyone’s safety, each cultural institution has carefully developed new health and safety protocols, following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and in consultation with national museum organizations, as well as fellow museums across the nation and around the world.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Franklin Institute, PAFA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rodin Museum have committed to the following precautions and protocols for as long as necessary:

  • Masks/face-coverings for visitors and staff are required
  • For most institutions, advance-reservations are encouraged or required to facilitate contactless transactions, and timed ticketing is in place to control the number of visitors
  • All are expected to practice social distancing
  • Limited building capacity to facilitate social distancing
  • All public spaces and surfaces cleaned and disinfected throughout the day
  • Hand sanitizer stations installed
  • Installation of plexiglass partitions in admissions and other areas

Comprehensive health and safety protocols for staff and visitors will be available on the websites of each museum prior to reopening.

Further details on each cultural institution’s opening dates, and special exhibitions on view, are listed below:

  • The Franklin Institute – Public opening: Wednesday, July 8, 10 a.m.6 p.m. (last entry 4 p.m.)
  • The Barnes Foundation – Public opening: Saturday, July 25, noon–7 p.m.
  • Academy of Natural Sciences – Public opening: Friday, July 31, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Member previews: Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Open hours: Fridays–Sundays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (10–11 a.m. members-only hour)
    • Survival of the Slowest (through October 25)
  • PAFA – Public opening: Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Previews for members and essential frontline workers (Historic Landmark Building): Thursday, September 3, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Friday, September 4, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday, September 5, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday, September 6, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Open hours: Thursdays–Fridays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (10 a.m.–12 p.m. reserved for visitors who are at a higher risk for contracting illnesses, including immunocompromised persons), and Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Late summer opening dates for Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum (which is administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art) will be announced in the coming weeks.