The New York Hall of Science, one of the largest hands-on science museums in the country, announced that it will reopen in mid-2021, conditions permitting. The institution in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has been closed to the public since March 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a high-touch, highly interactive museum, we will be cautious about when it will be safe to reopen our doors to the public. We will do so in phases when public health professionals and other officials say it is safe and when visitors tell us they are comfortable coming,” New York Hall of Science President and CEO Margaret Honey said. “The availability of an effective vaccine or treatment regimen will be factors in our decision-making. The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount.”
The mission of the museum is to nurture learners through an approach called Design, Make, Play, Design, Make, Play emphasizes open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, and personal relevance, resulting in deep engagement and delight in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“Effective and meaningful STEM education depends on social engagement and exploration that involves tools and materials — at NYSCI this historically has meant a high-touch environment,” Honey said. “Delivering on our mission to nurture generations of passionate learners, critical thinkers, and active citizens remains our highest priority. Prior to reopening, we will change many of the ways in which we operate, taking the time to reimagine and improve our existing hands-on offerings, and creating new exhibitions. We will also streamline entry and purchasing experiences to comprehensively address staff and visitors’ safety concerns.”
While the building and indoor exhibits will remain closed to the public, the museum will continue to deliver virtual experiences to its key audiences and will explore the possibility of offering some outdoor exhibits. As restrictions are lifted, the science center will return to offering a wide range of programmatic opportunities within the building and engage key audiences in the redesign of museum offerings.
“Closing the doors of NYSCI for even one day was a difficult but necessary decision,” said Melissa Vail and Francisco D’Souza, co-chairs of the NYSCI Board of Trustees. “With as much uncertainty as there is about COVID-19 and its impact on our lives, the Board has chosen a path that enables us to continue to support the local communities of Corona and Elmhurst, which have been among the hardest hit by the virus, teachers, students and families across the city, and the STEM education community through our ongoing and robust research, curricular, digital and exhibit work. Further, it enables us to retain many of our talented and committed staff who are managing to effect these changes under very difficult circumstances. We’re so proud of them and the inspiring leadership of Dr. Honey.”