The planet Earth may still be closed for the foreseeable future, but the Museum of Earth will open back up to the public within the coming weeks. 

The Museum of Earth plans to reopen its doors on Aug. 8 with new hours after being given the all-clear from New York State. The museum intends to implement, like all businesses intending to reopen, new health and safety guidelines for its visitors in line with the state's social distancing guidelines. The MOE will now be open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. 

The museum will also be opening with a special exhibit on display: Bees! Diversity, Evolution and Conservation. The exhibit has been extended to the end of 2020 and explores the "often overlooked" realm of bees, their ever-evolving relationship as pollinators and the diversity of their families. For more information, the MOE's website opened an online exhibit in response to the pandemic. 

Andrielle Swaby, Director of Visitor Experience at the Museum of Earth said that experiencing the museum virtually or online is incomparable to experiencing it in-person. She's excited to bring patrons back into the physical space and give them the chance to interact with the collection in person.

“Humans value authenticity. There is simply no substitute for seeing the real thing. Even under normal circumstances, visitors always prefer to see a real fossil, for example, rather than a replica or cast," said Swaby. "You can't communicate an object's true beauty or scale through a photo, or feel the gravity that comes with that object's age. There's an emotional power in seeing these objects in real life, and these feelings inspire us to care about the things we're looking at.”

For the safety of its visitors, the MOE says that they have implemented extensive cleaning protocols and will require visitors to reserve a time to visit the museum before arriving via https://museumoftheearth.org/tickets. Each day will have three two hour time slots to ensure that social distancing can be observed within the space. Visitors will also be required to wear a mask while inside. 

The Paleontological Research Institution’s (PRI) Museum of the Earth was established in 2003 to create mix of opportunities for exploration into various sciences. The museum's permanent exhibition traverses 4.5 billion years of Earth's history and through hands-on and visual methods, visitors interact with the exhibit.

"Even when you can’t touch something, being in its live presence is a totally different experience from seeing it on a screen or still image. PRI has produced abundant programs and exhibits online, but these are really meant to entice and encourage people to experience real nature and real objects, not replace that experience,” said Warren Allmon, Director at PRI.

Glenn Epps is an Ithaca College alum who's held previously held positions at The Ithacan as a reporter and podcaster, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, and Ithaca's Kitchen Theatre Company. He's an active tweeterhead at glenn_epps_.

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