Science Museum of Virginia Operating Policies
Museum Operating Hours
- The Museum is open seven days a week, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Shop4Science is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- It’s strongly recommended that everyone – including Museum members – pre-purchases tickets online before arriving. We have a sweet new ticketing system to make it easier than ever to plan ahead!
- Members should log in with their email and password before adding tickets to your cart to receive the member discount.
- To moderate the flow of guests in Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family, we are offering timed tickets with pre-reserved entry times. Weekends are our busiest times and some of the most popular time slots may sell out. Book early to help ensure we have space available when you’d like to visit.
- Guests wishing to purchase tickets under our Museums for All program or guests who qualify for teacher or military discounts should call 804.864.1400 to receive a promo code to be used when purchasing tickets online.
- Please follow the directed flow to check in at the Museum. We’ve got this down to a science – get it? – to help ensure a quick and smooth check-in process.
- If you or anyone in your party is feeling ill on the day of your visit or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 please call the Museum to reschedule your visit.
- If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, a mask is required while inside the Museum, regardless of age. Even if you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, a mask is recommended. We ask that guests bring their own masks when possible, but we will have a supply available at the Museum.
- If you're wearing a mask, it should be made of solid material. Any mask that incorporates a valve that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling; mesh masks; or masks with openings, holes, vents, or visible gaps in the design or material are not sufficient face coverings because they allow droplets to be released from the mask.
- If a guest has a medical reason they cannot wear a mask, please call 804.864.1400 to discuss accommodations.
- Styluses are available if you would like to use one to operate any of our touch screen experiences.
- We have installed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the Museum and ask guests to use these stations often throughout their visit.
While at the Museum
- Please ask a staff member or a volunteer if you have any questions while you’re visiting!
- Be respectful of other guests. Please recognize if there is a line for a popular experience and move along after your attempt so others can enjoy it, too. Trust us, we know it’s tempting to keep playing the air hockey robot.
- We’re a big museum, but not every room is huge. If spaces like the Art Lab or Animal Lab are crowded, try checking out another spot and head back later. The animals will still be there!
- Speaking of the Animal Lab, our animal friends have had it quiet for a while. We’re operating on limited hours in the space to give them a chance to acclimate to having lots of people around. Thanks for giving them time to get used to being in the spotlight again!
- Please observe the age restrictions in LightPlace, our space for early learned ages five and younger. The big kids have the rest of the Museum so let’s reserve this space for our younger scientists.
- The concession stand outside the Dome will remain closed at this time. But have no fear! If you need a snack, we have converted our café on Level 1 to a vending and snacking area for guests.
- Do we need to say shirts and shoes are required? Okay. Shirts and shoes are required. And something covering your bottom half as well. And please refrain from wearing clothing with adult language or that depicts adult situations.
- No firearms are allowed in the Museum.
- Never stop learning! Science is all around you all the time.
- Thorough cleaning and sanitizing has always been a critical part of our daily operations. Our cleaning procedures are based on the Centers for Disease Control guidelines using Environmental Protection Agency registered disinfectants.
- A professional cleaning team is on-site during Museum operating hours to sanitize and clean the restrooms, all public spaces, common areas, and exhibit galleries. This includes the frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons and handrails.
- Deep cleaning takes place when the Museum is closed. The floors are mopped and vacuumed, restrooms are cleaned, and all surfaces are sanitized.
- An electrostatic sprayer is used on upholstery and solid surfaces in the Dome and LightPlace at the close of business each day.
Indoor Air Quality Measures
The following air quality measures have been instituted based on current directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
- The Museum has increased outdoor fresh air intake from 10 percent to 20 percent.
- The Museum is changing all 20 percent pleated air filters currently used in our air-handling system to MERV-13 air filters to capture more contaminants. These more advanced filters address pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, bacteria, pet dander, oil smoke, smoke, and virus carriers.
- The Museum is researching and developing a procedure to eliminate viral contaminants through the use of Bipolar Ionization and hopes to have this technology in place by the end of the year. This process uses high-voltage electrodes to create reactive ions in the air that react with airborne contaminants, including viruses, and eliminates them.
- Humidity is being maintained in the building 40 and 60 percent to better control airborne contaminants.
- The Museum has commenced a purge cycle on all air handling units to pull in 100 percent outdoor air twice a day to reduce VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the envelope. This is done once in the morning at start-up and in the evening after sunset. The purge cycles are designed to run anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on environmental factors.
- The Museum has exhaust fan systems in its restrooms and is working to ensure that all building restrooms have adequate exhaust ventilation to maintain optimal negative pressure in each.
- Staff will wear a mask while in public spaces in the building and when interacting with guests.
So there you have it. Some of the ins and outs of how the Museum runs. Please be sure to check out all the things you can do at the Museum as well as accessibility information before your visit. Until you join us in person, you can start your STEM discovery at home with some of our digital content.
And now for your reward for making it to the bottom of the page. One of our favorite jokes:
A photon is going through airport security. The TSA agent asks if he has any luggage. The photon says, "No, I'm traveling light."
Updated July 30, 2021 8:30 a.m.