Please Touch Museum reopens to members after 58 weeks, public welcomed April 22

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Please Touch Museum welcomed back guests for the first time Thursday morning since they closed more than a year ago.

58 weeks to be exact.

Joe Davidson of Ridley admitted he waited until Thursday morning to share the news of the visit with his daughters, Elle and Lexi, because he knew they would keep asking about it.

"It's extremely important. It gives kids a place to go and play and interact with all these great exhibits," Davidson said.

Ellie and Lexi were jumping for joy.

"I am so happy to be back," Ellie exclaimed. "This is a great place for me, Lexi, and Daddy to go together!"

Only accessible to members now, Please Touch and its 60,000 square feet of exhibit space will open to the public on April 22.

The museum has implemented even more safety measures and protocols to keep visitors safe.



"All visitors - Members, General Admission and ACCESS Card Holders - must make online reservations in advance in order to manage crowd size and allow for proper social distancing," the museum says.

Masks are required for guests 2 and up. There are a few exhibits that are currently closed.

There are also two brand new exhibits: Makerspace and "Centennial Innovations," a 5,000 square foot gallery asking the questions - "If you could change the world, how would you do it? and "What would it look like?"

Carousel rides are included with all admissions for a limited time.

This was an emotional day for President and CEO Patricia Wellenbach.

"Long year. We have missed this," said Wellenbach, tearing up.

Wellenbach explained the museum has worked hard, consulting with physicians and public health experts to provide a safe environment for visitors.

"We always do, in the past, have tons and tons of health and safety precautions because kids come with germs and the world has germs. We just ratcheted it up," Wellenbach said.

Joanne Tran of West Deptford was happy to see an abundance of hand sanitizer stations.

"Hand sanitizers in place so definitely if you go to each exhibit there's one in eyesight," Tran shared.

With an online reservation system, Please Touch will have morning and afternoon sessions Thursdays through Sundays at reduced capacity.

The morning session is 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The afternoon session is 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museum is closed for cleaning: 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.; cleaning is also done at the end of each day.



"In a year when there was so much sadness and aloneness," Wellenbach said, "to have a little girl, a little boy, come in here and say, 'I've missed you', means that we are important to our city, to its families, to its children."

The museum will be open for members only during the first two weekends: April 8-11 and April 15-18.

The museum will open to the public starting April 22.

"The GIANT Company is sponsoring free admission for the public from April 22-25 to celebrate the opening of PTM, including fun giveaways! Donations to the Museum are encouraged and reservations are required," the museum says.

In addition, PNC Bank is sponsoring free admission for the public on May 1 and 2.
Regular admission rates apply on April 29 and 30.

The museum will be closed to visitors Mondays through Wednesdays for immersive cleaning and ongoing museum planning.

The museum's water fountains and filling stations are closed. Visitors are asked to bring filled water bottles with them.

The coat room is also closed.

Find more information here.
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