Edmonton

Royal Alberta Museum opens to public — with some changes

As with most public places in Edmonton, the Royal Alberta Museum had also shut its doors to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Saturdays, Albertans were able to visit the museum as it reopened.

The children's gallery and the interactive media components are closed to visitors

Monica Constantino, seen with her family in the human history hall of the Royal Alberta Museum on Saturday, May 16, 2020. (CBC News)

The quiet halls of the Royal Alberta Museum are once again filled with chatter as the museum opened its doors to the public on Saturday. 

As with most public places in Edmonton, the RAM had also shut its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But visitors will now be able to go to the museum — albeit with some changes that include having a maximum of 100 visitors at a time, timing ticket admissions in order to control capacity and Plexiglas shields in customer service areas. 

Chris Robinson, executive director at the RAM, said that the bug gallery, the human history hall and the natural history hall will remain open, but they will no longer have the interactive media components. 

"So anything that you can touch we have turned off, covered or moved," he said. 

The children's gallery will also be closed. "It's a pretty tactile experience there and … we just don't want anybody to touch everything," he explained.

The Royal Alberta Museum is now welcoming up to 100 visitors at a time during the Phase 1 relaunch. 0:31

Albertans were ready to visit the museum as 125 tickets were pre-sold before doors opened at 10 a.m.

Shanti Kaba, 11, was one of them. 

"We have been quarantined for a while and we decided, well they are opening the museum, why not take a little bit of time and go out, especially since they are taking precautions," she said.

"It's been a little hard to stay at home for so long."

For Kaba's mother, Monica Constantino, the museum is a great place for her children to learn.

"As a homeschooling family even before the pandemic, we consistently use the museum as one of our most valuable resources," she said. 

"We are going to be able to do our social, we are going to be able to do our language, arts ... so we are really excited about that." 

Constantino was satisfied with the precautions the museum took to ensure safety. 

"The clear guidelines as you come in, the welcoming at the door, making sure that we have our appointment, so we felt quite safe coming in the museum," she said. 

That is how Robinson hopes all visitors to the museum feel.

"I'm hoping that over time as people venture out, they feel more comfortable and they are offered those assurances of a safe experience, that they will return."

He said as visitors expect the museums to take every safety precaution, he hopes they do the same.

"We are asking all Albertans to partner with us in this," he said. "Take that self-assessment before you leave the house. Keep your distance, wash your hands, practice good etiquette, things like that." 

Robinson said the museum is a great place to be reminded that this is not the first crisis Alberta has been through. 

"We have a story on polio. We have got stories on the great depression. We have got stories on the First and Second World War," he said.  

"I think it proves that we have resilience and people can take that message away as well."

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