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ScienceWorks plans to reopen May 1

FILE PHOTO: Seen on the Scene at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum' free day. (Jamie Lusch)

ASHLAND — ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum plans to reopen Saturday, May 1, with a free event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to a news release.

After the reopening, the museum will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, the release said.

Capacity will be limited. Under state guidance intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, indoor entertainment establishments, which includes indoor museums, may operate at limited levels, depending on the COVID-19 risk level of the county where it is stationed. On Friday, Jackson County’s risk level remained at “high,” meaning a maximum of 25% occupancy or 50 people total, whichever is smaller, would have been allowed, according to state guidelines.

Safety protocols intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will be in place, with face coverings required for all attendees 5 and older, and recommended for age 2 and older, the website said.

Many exhibits will be modified to reduce touched surfaces and increase physical distancing, according to the museum website. Exhibits that will be temporarily closed include Bubble-ology, the Jam Room, Dark Science, and Pacific Crest Cove.

Activities planned for opening day will include a “Fix-It” station, experiments with candy, a special event called Science Skills Sunday, which will have a focus on microscopes and observation, and an early childhood story time event, the release said.

Like many area nonprofits, the pandemic has impacted ScienceWorks’ day-to-day operations, offerings, and hours. The museum parted ways with former director Dan Ruby in December. Former associate director Erin Endress serves as interim director.

The museum’s recent ScienceWorks Everywhere initiative was aimed at distributing educational materials to community members, bringing science to future scientists instead of the other way around. At-home science activities are also available online at https://scienceworksmuseum.org/scienceworks-online.

But next month, the in-person option will return.

Museum officials recommend planning by visiting the website for the latest updates. Information about physically distanced summer camps are also available at https://scienceworksmuseum.org/camps.