The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land will remain closed even as the main location downtown prepares to reopen May 15, nearly two months after closing March 17 because of growing concerns over the coronavirus.

“The first priority is to open our main location in Houston, followed later in May with a plan to reopen Fort Bend facilities including HMNS at Sugar Land and HMNS George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park,” HMNS-Sugar Land Director Adrienne Barker said in an email to the community. “We are anxious to see our patrons again, in the safest ways possible, and will be working hard to do so. We feel firmly that institutions like ours will play a key role in helping people move gradually back to normal activities.”

A press release outlines the reopening plan for the HMNS main location at 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. Among the measures being implemented to promote health and social distancing are:

  • Operating at 25% capacity;

  • Monitoring guest flow throughout the museum;

  • Providing face masks for staff who interact with the public and requiring all guests to wear a face mask;

  • Spacing workstations and allowing staff to work from home where possible;

  • Encouraging online ticket purchases to reduce contact during museum entry;

  • Installing hand sanitation stations and increasing cleaning protocols;

  • Taking employee temperatures prior to museum entrance; and

  • Canceling all lectures and public programs through at least May 21 and keeping hands-on exhibition components closed.

“Museums are essential to our culture, and we are committed to continuing to serve our mission of providing a world class museum experience for the Houston community,” HMNS President and CEO Joel A. Bartsch said in a release. “While we don’t know when the rest of the world will reopen, in the meantime, rest assured that you can come here ... and go anywhere.”