Soon, New Yorkers will once again be able to gawk at the American Museum of Natural History’s iconic 94-foot blue whale and T. rex — provided they’re wearing a mask.
The museum announced Thursday that it plans to reopen to the public on Sept. 9 at 25 percent capacity, pending permission from state and city officials. (Members can visit a week earlier, starting on Sept. 2.)
Visitors will need to reserve timed-entry tickets online in advance and face masks will be required for everyone two and older. Staff will also be subject to daily temperature checks.
The museum will be open five days a week instead of its typical seven, from Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. While it had previously had a pay-what-you-wish admission policy for all visitors, it will implement a fixed admission fee for visitors not from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut — $23 for adults, $18 for students and those 60 and older, and $13 for children ages 3 to 12. The change was approved by the city and will be the policy going forward, a museum spokeswoman said.
As when the Metropolitan Museum of Art began charging a mandatory fee for visitors who do not live in New York State in 2018, the city had to sign off on the change because it owns the museum’s building.
Residents of New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut will still be able to choose the amount they pay, but will need to show address identification.
All theaters, including the Hayden Planetarium, and halls that feature a large number of touchable interactives will remain closed, according to a news release. Food service will also not be available.
The museum had been closed since March 13. New York City museums were slated to get permission to reopen on July 20 under Phase 4 of the city’s reopening plan, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo withheld permission indefinitely earlier this month, citing the possibility of a second wave of cases.
The museum is the first in the city to publicly set a new targeted reopening date since Mr. Cuomo’s announcement. The Metropolitan Museum of Art had announced in mid-July that it would reopen Aug. 29, and the New-York Historical Society said earlier this month it planned an outdoor exhibition to open on Aug. 14, with indoor shows opening Sept. 11. But it remains to be seen whether the virus situation in the city will be stable enough to allow cultural institutions to reopen by then.