Air Force Museum to reopen July 1

The National Museum of the United States Air Force will reopen July 1, about three-and-a-half months after closing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The reopening also will include the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

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According to a press release, reopening guidelines follow recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the state of Ohio, local health experts and peer institutions across the country.

Visitors will use a new entrance to the right of the traditional entrance. Visitors ages 3 and older will be required to wear masks during their visit to the museum.

The museum’s director, David Tillotson, said he regretted the March 15 closure, but said it was needed to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

“We are thrilled to be able to reopen our doors to the public and continue our mission of sharing the Air Force and Space Force stories with those from around the world,” said Tillotson. “Although some may be hesitant to visit at first, we have heard from others who are ready to plan a visit for the first time, as well as those longing to return to their favorite aviation destination. We are excited to continue providing new exhibits, events and educational experiences both now and in the years to come.”

Guided tours will not be available.

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Exhibits that will be temporarily closed include all walk-through aircraft, sit-in cockpits and space shuttle simulators. Some interactive exhibits may be modified.

The playground will be closed, but park areas and picnic tables will remain open, the release said.

“Cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the museum, including an increased frequency in the disinfecting of high-traffic areas and surfaces,” the release said.

Officials added hand sanitizer stations in each gallery, and visitors will need to follow new directional signs. Plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at cashier stations in the Valkyrie Café, Museum Store, Air Force Museum Theatre and simulator rides.

The Valkyrie Café, Museum Store, Air Force Museum Theatre and simulator rides will operate with new restrictions and will only accept credit cards, the release said.

The café will allow 120 people at one time and serve a limited menu. Bottled beverages will be sold, eliminating fountain drinks and such from self-serve stations.

Guest will not be able to use water fountains but can take a clear water bottle or buy one from the museum.

Restrictions also will be placed on the number of visitors allowed in the theater, and simulator rides that are open will have longer wait times because of the need to sanitize between riders.

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The museum, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year. It is the largest military aviation museum in the world and offers free admission and parking.

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