Science Museum of Virginia Operating Policies
Museum Operating Hours
- The Museum will be open Wednesday - Sunday, 9:30 am - 5 pm.
- Tickets are available for pre-purchase by phone and online only to encourage “touch free” or “low touch” entry to the Museum.
- Please note that tickets are currently available up to five days in advance. If you are planning a visit more than five days away, please head back to the website to purchase your tickets at a later time.
- 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.
- To moderate the flow of guests, the Museum is offering timed tickets with pre-reserved entry times and a limited number of tickets available in each entry time.
- We’re following restaurant seating rules (minus the buzzing coasters), so guests should arrive at their selected time. If a guest is more than 10 minutes late for their reservation, we will try to move the reservation to a later time; however, we cannot guarantee another time will be available.
- Museum members must reserve a ticket for admission. Members should log in with their email and password before adding tickets to your cart to receive the member discount.
- 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 purchase tickets.
- 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.
- All guests age 5 and older are required to wear a mask while at the Museum (recommended for guests ages 3 – 4), and we ask that guests bring their own masks when possible. We will have a supply available at the Museum. Check out this video that covers how to properly wear a face covering.
- Masks 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, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents 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.
- Gloves are not required to be worn inside the Museum. Staff will wear gloves when cleaning (see cleaning procedures) or if needed for specific interactions.
- We have installed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the Museum and ask guests to use these stations often throughout their visit.
- Guests are asked to follow social distancing, keeping six feet from other guests. Guests will see several floor decals which will indicate 6-foot spacing throughout the Museum.
Arriving at the Museum
- Guests should use the main doors at the Museum’s entrance.
- Look for the stanchions set up in the Rotunda. These are set up to help guests queue up as they wait to check in to the Museum.
- Please maintain 6-foot spacing from the next party waiting in line and please keep your mask on at all times.
- A Museum Guest Services staff member will be available to assist guests as they check in. We have designed the process to be as “low touch” as possible and have installed plexiglass windshields at the Guest Services desk for extra safety.
While at the Museum
- Guests can enjoy exhibits and experiences currently open: Speed, Boost!, The Forge, LightPlace, and the Art Gallery and Hyperwall on Level 2. The Dome is also open on a reduced schedule. Please note some additional operating procedures for LightPlace and the Dome in the next two bullets. Other exhibits and experiences, such as The MiX, the Cottrell Theater, and some experiences on Level 2 and 3 will remain closed at this time.
- LightPlace will be open daily from 9:30 am - 1 pm. We ask that guests:
- Sanitize hands before entry.
- Do not bring food or drinks into the gallery.
- Observe space capacity of no more than three families or 15 people in the space at a time.
- Place used toys in the Yuck Bucket so they can get a wash before coming back out to play.
- Maintain a distance of at least six feet between other guests.
- Be mindful that others may be waiting to visit the space and sharing is caring!
- The Dome is reopen with an adjusted show schedule. Click here to see what's playing. Please note that we’ve added some new safety procedures in The Dome.
- Guests should wear their masks while in The Dome.
- No food or drink is allowed in The Dome at this time.
- To help maintain physical distance, every other row will remain closed.
- We ask that guests leave at least two empty seats between parties.
- Dome hard surfaces (railings, cup holders, door knobs, etc.) will be cleaned in between each show. Dome seating will be cleaned daily using an electrostatic sprayer.
- Only one party at a time should ride in the elevators. Respect space bubbles. Our elevators are glass, so we’ll see if you cheat.
- Whenever possible, only one family at a time should be in the restrooms.
- Shop4Science is currently open Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am - 5 pm. The Periodic Table café will remain closed at this time. Public water fountains are also temporarily unavailable.
- Staff will be monitoring the number of guests in each area of the Museum and may request that guests act like peanut butter and jelly and spread out if needed.
- Thorough cleaning and sanitizing has always been a critical part of our daily operations; however, we have implemented enhanced cleaning measures and policies for our reopening. 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 hand rails.
- Our Museum staff disinfects all hands-on items located in our galleries throughout the day as well as at the close of each day.
- 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.
- We have installed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the Museum.
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).
- Since March, 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 contaminates.
- 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 Dome has two air handling units. One will run purge cycles twice a day on the same schedule as the units responsible for the air in the rest of the Museum. The second air handling unit is pulling in air from outside regularly, meaning there is constant input of fresh air into The Dome.
- 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 perform temperature checks daily before coming to work. Staff with a temperature over 100.4 will be asked to stay home and not return to work until cleared by a medical professional.
- Staff have gone through training sessions to understand and implement the Museum’s modified procedures and sanitation practices.
- Staff in the building will wear masks at all times, as well as gloves when cleaning and for specific interactions.
- Work stations will be spaced to allow for social distancing and support staff will continue to work from home.
- Staff will be wearing the regular Museum uniform. There may be some questionable quarantine haircuts. Be kind.
So there you have it. Things will look different when we reopen, but plenty remains the same. The Foucault pendulum is still swinging and you can still race Usain Bolt or test out your control and dance moves. Staff will still be on hand to not only help you navigate this new normal, but to also help you explore your curiosity. And there is still no limit to what we can discover about our world together.
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."