By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the United States, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian has indicated it will remain open. Museum officials have noted that all special events for the remainder of March have been cancelled.
“We are open daily, but to keep crowds down, we have currently cancelled our March events hosted here at the Museum including the Cherokee Heritage Day, the 3rd Annual Storytelling event, and the opening night reception for our upcoming new mask exhibit,” said Dawn Arneach, Museum interim executive director. “With the Museum Board and staff, we will look at each month coming up and make decisions at that time concerning whether to have that month’s events or to postpone to a later date.”
Arneach said that the Museum is taking precautions to reduce the risk to patrons and staff. “The Museum staff has made sure we have hand sanitizer stations throughout the Museum visit, at the Box Office counter when you come in, at the Museum Store counter when you check-out purchases, and even in the guest bathrooms. Each department at the Museum also has Clorox wipes to wipe down our audio tours when turned back in and pens for signing receipts.”
She added, “They are also wiping down surfaces like door handles, turnstiles, and other surfaces that are touched throughout the day.”
They have also planned for what to do if a person seems symptomatic for COVID-19. “So far, our staff has not shown signs of sickness,” said Arneach. “Our plans are that if they are starting to get sick that they stay home and follow precautions for themselves and their family members. If we have a customer that comes in coughing, we politely ask them not to visit us today but to come back when they are well and can enjoy their time with us.”
The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum will also remain open, and currently all planned events are still on as scheduled. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In other Museum news, the Smithsonian announced that all its museums in Washington, D.C. and New York City will be closed to the public temporarily starting on Saturday, March 14. “The health and safety of Smithsonian visitors, staff, and volunteers is a top priority,” Smithsonian officials said in a statement on March 12. “We are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and maintain ongoing communication with local health officials and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, we are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on a week-to-week basis on our websites.”