Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum makes a post-pandemic comeback

"It's really wonderful to have him go somewhere where nothing's off-limits," one parent said.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hyejeong Hong of Havertown loves bringing her 3-year-old daughter Bomie to the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park.

"She usually just comes directly to the art studio drawing something, and then stop by here and build something," said Hong as Bomie intently built a structure with magnetic tiles.

While Hong is still cautious about COVID-19 and germs, her strategy now is to mask up and get out of the house.

"We had a little concern about that because of the pandemic, however, they need to have this kind of safe space to play," said Hong.

The decades-old interactive children's museum closed its doors for more than a year during the pandemic.

"The building was quiet. There was no laughter. No kids playing," said Chief Growth Officer Tracy Curvan.

Those sounds are definitely back now that the museum is open five days a week.

Reservations are required for visitors, but masks are now optional.

"It's really up to them and what their personal comfort level is," said Curvan. "Same for staff. Our staff is 100% vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19. We are also fully vaccinated for the influenza virus."

She said the reopening process took a lot of planning.

"Prior to reopening we looked at every exhibit, every prop, every way we conducted our business to make sure that we were being responsive to the current situation. So we've gone to electrostatic spraying throughout the museum," said Curvan.

She also says bins are placed in each play area where toys and props can be placed throughout the day for cleaning.

"We set new clean props into every exhibit space every morning so when you're coming in, everything has been sanitized based on the material that it is," said Curvan.

The newly renovated Food and Family area is fan favorite, where kids can shop for "groceries" with small carts, and "cook" a meal.

Parents say they're happy to have a place where preschoolers can have free rein.

"It's really wonderful to have him go somewhere where nothing's off-limits," said parent Breanna Himes from Pottstown as she enjoyed the art studio with her son. "You're not having to say 'no' every five seconds. It's really wonderful."

The Please Touch Museum plans to expand its operating schedule to six days a week starting this summer.
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