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August 08, 2020

Please Touch Museum delays reopening until 2021 due to COVID-19 impact

Fairmount Park children's museum lays off 75% of staff

Art Museums
please touch museum 2021 Please Touch Museum/Facebook

Philly children's museum the Please Touch Museum will not reopen until 2021 due the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its financial impact, the institution announced Friday.

Philly's Please Touch Museum will be closed for the remainder of 2020 due to financial pressures and overall impact of COVID-19. 

The Fairmount Park institution said it will reopen for 2021 at the earliest in an announcement on Friday. The children's museum has been closed since March due the coronavirus pandemic. 

Approximately 75% of the museum's staff has also been laid off, leaving just 18 official staff members employed by the museum. This is the third staff cut by Please Touch since mid-March when 71 staff members were employed.

The remaining employees of Please Touch will also experience salary reductions and scheduling changes. 

Museum President and CEO Patricia D. Wellenbach called the delayed reopening "A pause on playing together," in a message posted on Instagram on Friday.

“Although we are extending our closure into 2021, our mission and commitment to providing informal learning experiences that support intellectual, social and emotional learning for young children has never been more critical, " said Wellenbach. "We will use this time to redefine the future experience of PTM in a post-pandemic world."

The museum had been planning for a September reopening but chose to remain closed for the year following the School District of Philadelphia's announcement that class will begin completely online for Fall 2020.

Revenue had also been greatly impacted by months of closure leading to the elimination of ticket sales and the reduction of membership dues, which together provide most of the museum's profits, reported the Inquirer.

Official museum members of Please Touch will have their dues frozen and not be charged until at least 2021, Wellenbach added in the announcement. 

Other museums in the Philadelphia area have chosen to reopen already. The Mütter Museum, the Franklin Institute, and the Barnes Foundation have all reopened under new health and safety guidelines.

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