DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After temporarily closing on March 15 to protect the health and safety of visitors, staff and volunteers, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, along with the National Aviation Hall of Fame, will officially reopen to the public on July 1.
The Air Force said Thursday that while the museum is excited to reopen, its top priority is the health and safety of visitors and entire museum family. Therefore, the museum developed reopening guidelines following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the State of Ohio, local health experts and peer institutions across the country.
The USAF said in order to achieve the highest public health standards, cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the museum, including an increased frequency in the disinfecting of high-traffic areas and surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are now available in each gallery and new directional signage is also in place. In addition, plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at all of the cashier stations in the Valkyrie Café, Museum Store, Air Force Museum Theatre, and simulator rides.
All visitors will be directed to enter the museum through a new entrance to the right of the traditional entrance. Visitors ages three and up will be required to wear masks during their visit to the museum.
Throughout the initial reopening phase, most galleries and exhibits will be available to visitors for self-touring, and all visitors should maintain six feet of separation between each visiting party at all times. Daily guided tours will not be available at this time.
Exhibits that will be temporarily closed include all walk-through aircraft, sit-in cockpits, space shuttle simulators, Eighth Air Force Control Tower and Nissen Hut, and interactive exhibits may be modified or removed in the near term. The playground will also be closed but park areas and picnic tables will remain open.
The Valkyrie Café, Museum Store, Air Force Museum Theatre, and simulator rides will operate with new restrictions and will only accept credit cards. The Valkyrie Café will be open for up to 120 people at a time and offer a limited menu. Only bottled beverages will be sold – fountain drinks, coffee, and ice from the self-serve drink stations will not be available, and the Refueling Café located on the Cold War Gallery overlook will remain closed.
Water fountains will also no longer be available but visitors may bring in a clear sealed water bottle (up to 20 oz), or purchase one from the Museum Store, Valkyrie Café or Air Force Museum Theatre concession stand.
The Air Force Museum Theatre will show one film per hour beginning at 11 a.m. each day and limit seating to 45 people per screening. For films that require 3D glasses, a new pair will be issued with each ticket purchased. All simulator rides will also be open but visitors may experience longer wait times for rides as they are sanitized between each customer. For additional information on the Air Force Museum Foundation amenities including the theatre schedule, visit www.afmuseum.com.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF), co-located at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, will also reopen on July 1. For additional information on NAHF policies, restrictions and hours of operations, please visit www.nationalaviation.org.
“We are thrilled to be able to reopen our doors to the public and continue our mission of sharing the Air Force and Space Force stories with those from around the world,” said Director Mr. David Tillotson. “Although some may be hesitant to visit at first, we have heard from others who are ready to plan a visit for the first time, as well as those longing to return to their favorite aviation destination. We are excited to continue providing new exhibits, events and educational experiences both now and in the years to come.”
Additional information on the museum’s reopening plans is available at: www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Home/Reopening/.