Coronavirus: Springfield museums close temporarily due to pandemic

The Springfield Museum of Art and two other local arts institutions are closing temporarily due to the pandemic. Elizabeth Wetterstroem adjusts artwork at the museum in August. BRETT TURNER/CONTRIBUTED
The Springfield Museum of Art and two other local arts institutions are closing temporarily due to the pandemic. Elizabeth Wetterstroem adjusts artwork at the museum in August. BRETT TURNER/CONTRIBUTED

Three Springfield tourist attractions have closed temporarily due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions.

The Westcott House, Springfield Museum of Art and Pennsylvania House Museum announced closures over the weekend.

The Pennsylvania House has scheduled its reopening for the first Saturday in 2021. The Westcott House and Museum of Art haven’t targeted reopening dates.

For Westcott House executive director Marta Wojcik, it comes at a critical time. The Thanksgiving weekend normally sees a small boost in tourism as families from out of town visit and the house is one of the destinations.

“We were excited with decorations up for the holiday that people love visiting to see. But in the spirit of 2020, it’s a downer,” she said.

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Wojcik said it’s better not to set a reopening date since there were several false starts during the spring, taking three months to reopen. This is despite being confident in safety protocols in place.

“We’re just hoping it will be sooner than later, but we’ll see,” she said.

Museum of Art executive director Jessimi Jones monitored what colleagues across the state were doing and she and Wojcik also spoke and chose to close beginning Monday, Nov. 23.

“We continue to see the increase in (COVID) numbers and with the stay-at-home advisory, this just seemed like the responsible and right thing to do,” Jones said.

The Clark County Board of Health issued a 28 day stay-at-home advisory effective, Sunday, Nov. 22.

Wojcik and Jones mentioned closing was also important for staff and volunteers’ well-being.

The Museum of Art planned an exhibition later this week and had one scheduled to open in December. Those will be on hold depending on how long it remains closed.

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The Pennsylvania House, which opens weekends, had its annual holiday open house scheduled for December. It is now canceled.

The Westcott House and Museum of Art will continue their presence online. Westcott House has had a successful series of virtual programs and will do holiday party in December, and will also offer merchandise from its online store with an option for curbside service on an ongoing basis.

The Museum of Art has done several interactive educational lessons among its offerings.

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