National WWI Museum and Memorial Sets Reopen Date
By Mike Vietti
Director of Marketing, Communications and Guest Services, National World War I Museum and Memorial
KANSAS CITY, MO. – The National WWI Museum and Memorial will reopen to its members on Monday, June 1 and to the general public on Tuesday, June 2.
“We have monitored the COVID-19 situation closely during the past few months and, in accordance with guidance from public health officials at the local, state and federal levels, we are ready to reopen America’s official WWI Museum and Memorial,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, National WWI Museum and Memorial President and CEO. “We’ve spent considerable time developing a comprehensive reopening plan that allows for people to visit one of the world’s great museums and memorials in a safe and welcoming environment.”
Upon reopening, several elements of the Museum and Memorial will be adjusted to account for guidelines established by public health officials. Among those items:
- Guests may visit the Museum during one of two timed sessions each day (10 a.m. - 1 p.m. & 2-5 p.m.) to maintain limited occupancy levels and provide for additional cleaning between sessions.
- Guests are strongly encouraged to buy tickets online in advance to guarantee entrance due to limited occupancy levels.
- The organization has increased the frequency of cleaning using CDC-rated disposable products, installed hand sanitizing stations throughout the complex and adopted “no-touch” measures such as hands-free door openers and touch-free waste containers. Staff and volunteers will wear face masks at all times in public spaces. In conjunction with city regulations, guests are encouraged, but not required to wear face masks.
- While the Main Gallery, Exhibit Hall, Memory Hall and Wylie Gallery are available, some areas will be unavailable such as the Liberty Memorial Tower and the Edward Jones Research Center.
- Some amenities such as checking of coats/backpacks and complimentary use of wheelchairs/scooters will be unavailable.
“The experience of walking through the Museum, seeing the exhibitions and spending time looking though the materials and information we offer will remind visitors about the passion, strength and resilience humankind is capable of,” Naylor said. “The world was devastated by the Great War, compounded by the pandemic of 1918, yet re-emerged. We can look to the past to gain an understanding that we have the capacity to get through this and quite possibly emerge stronger than before.”
For the complete list of adjustments, guests are encouraged to visit theworldwar.org/safe. The Museum and Memorial, which originally closed on March 16, will maintain this operational strategy until advised otherwise by public health officials.
While the Museum will not be open to the public on Memorial Day, the organization offers three moving ceremonies streamed online for free to the public. At 10 a.m., a Memorial Day ceremony occurs to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice featuring remarks from dignitaries such as Missouri U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, Kansas U.S. Representative Sharice Davids, Sporting KC star Khiry Shelton, musical performances from Kansas City native and Nashville recording artist Casi Joy (NBC’s “The Voice”) and much more.
At Noon, a brief Memorial Day Bell Tolling Ceremony commemorates those who lost their lives with a bell that was rung on a daily basis in Kansas City by the Daughters of the American Revolution during World War I. At 2 p.m., the Museum and Memorial shares the Walk of Honor Dedication Ceremony, which recognizes individuals who have recently had a Walk of Honor brick dedicated in their name. Each ceremony can be seen at theworldwar.org/live.
When the Museum opens, it also marks the debut of two new special exhibitions: 100 Years of Collecting and 100 Years of Collecting – Art. The Museum and Memorial began collecting directly from the First World War in 1920 and has amassed the most comprehensive Great War collection in the world. In a tremendous stroke of foresight, the organization’s founders determined that the collection should be inclusive of every nation that actively participated in the war. 100 Years of Collecting provides a window to examine incredibly diverse objects and documents, as well as the opportunity to see how this monumental collection came to fruition. 100 Years of Collecting – Art examines striking works related to the First World War, including pieces from the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K. Both exhibitions are open through March 7, 2021 and are included with general admission.
About the National WWI Museum and Memorial
The National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impacts on the global community. The Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum and Memorial takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, MO., the National WWI Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit theworldwar.org.