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The Science Museum of Virginia will Welcome the Curious Back Labor Day Weekend

The Museum is offering timed tickets with pre-reserved entry times and only 12 guests will be admitted every 15 minutes. Which means fewer crowds as you explore the world of science.

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It’s been a rough spring and summer for everyone including our local museums. Shake off some of those blues with a bit of good news, the Science Museum of Virginia is getting ready to re-open. There are a bunch of details to make sure it’s a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone so make sure read their guidelines and new procedures.

After being closed to the public for nearly six months to help limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Science Museum of Virginia is reopening in September.

Wednesday, Sept. 2, Thursday, Sept. 3 and Friday, Sept. 4, the Museum will be open for members only. The Museum will open for all guests beginning Saturday, Sept. 5, and will be open on Labor Day.

Starting September 13, the Museum’s new operating hours will be Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum will be closed on Mondays for deep cleaning.

While staff are excited to welcome community members back into the building and eager to discuss all things science with curious guests, the Museum has made adjustments to help ensure a safe environment for all who enter the building.

“We have been planning for the reopening since the day we closed with a laser focus on what science is telling us about this virus,” said Chief Wonder Officer Richard Conti. “We are being very deliberate and welcoming back guests at a modest level. Just as science is a process of discovery, we will monitor operations in real time and adjust our strategy as needed along the way.”

The Museum has developed a reopening plan that is guided by recommendations from public health officials and from the best practices of museums throughout the country. The Museum has enhanced cleaning procedures, installed hands-free door handles in the restrooms and adjusted HVAC systems to increase the amount of outside air flow. Shop4Science will remain closed when the Museum reopens.

In addition, the Museum has implemented new operating policies for guests, some of which are listed below. Guests are encouraged to review the full reopening procedures on the Museum’s website at www.smv.org/welcome before their visit.

  • To moderate the flow of guests, the Museum is offering timed tickets with pre-reserved entry times.
  • To allow for proper social distancing, only 12 guests will be admitted every 15 minutes.
  • Tickets are available for pre-purchase by phone and online only to encourage touch-free or low-touch entry to the Museum. Members will need to use the same phone or online system to reserve their entry time.
  • All guests 10 and older are required to wear their own mask while at the Museum. It is recommended that guests ages 3 to 9 also wear a mask.
  • Guests will be directed to follow a pre-determined flow through designated entrance and exit doors, and through open exhibits, which will be “Speed,” “Boost!” and “Giant Insects” during the first few weeks of operation. Some experiences within those exhibits will be closed. Hand sanitizing stations are available at each interactive exhibit.
  • Only one party at a time may ride in the elevators or be in the restroom at the same time.

Previously scheduled to close at the end of August, the popular traveling exhibition “Giant Insects” will now be on display through November 1. The interactive elements have been removed but the six enormous, robotic insects ranging from 40 to 120 times larger than life size and terrariums featuring live bugs are still on view to excite insect lovers of all ages. “Giant Insects” is sponsored locally by Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses, & Garden Centers.

Museum staff have been hard at work for the past several months completing interior enhancements projects. Classrooms, hallways and the well-known “red stairwell” have all been repainted; tables and chairs have been thoroughly scrubbed; lighting has been installed to improve visibility in some areas of the Museum; and the café has been transformed into a flexible-use space for rentals and classes, to name a few.

In addition to the interior enhancements, exterior construction work has started on the new parking deck. Part of the Museum’s lot, the section located between the planetarium and the Children’s Museum, is closed to vehicular traffic. Once completed in early fall 2021, the deck will increase parking capacity and be more user friendly for guests. It is the first step in the Museum’s site master plan of creating a new urban green space.

“While we understand this is a different Museum experience than before the closure, we are implementing new practices for the health and safety of guests and staff,” Conti said. “What hasn’t changed about the Museum is guests encountering thought-provoking science connections and experiencing a sense of discovery, inspiration and awe. We know our community will support the decisions we are making, and for as long as they are necessary. Museums are resilient and are filled with creative, dedicated and resourceful people. As the world evolves, we too will evolve, to ensure that we remain relevant and inspirational.”

The Museum has added a number of virtual programs and enhanced its digital offerings this year. Much of that content will continue after the Museum reopens, such as live astronomy shows on Facebook each Thursday at 2 p.m., digital school demos available for educators to book this fall, virtual Lunch Break Science presentations featuring experts in the field and at-home STEM activity materials. Community members are encouraged to explore all the digital offerings on the Stay Connected page on the Museum’s website at www.smv.org/stay-connected.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Arts & Entertainment

Photos: Folk Fest Saturday

The rain kept crowds down but that didn’t stop the performers from blowing it out of the park, again. You’ve got one more day to enjoy the festival.

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Photos and Tips: Friday Night at Richmond Folk Festival

The weather was perfect last night as Richmond welcomed back the Folk Festival with open arms and dancing feet.

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A few suggestions to making your day at the festival a little bit better

Tips

  1. Go see Plena Es. Most of my pictures came from their set last night because there was so much joy in the air. “Founded by Pierre Ramos in 2004, the band—featuring percussion, trombones, piano, bass, and two dancers—stirs up a high-energy dance music that is a touchstone for Puerto Rican identity.”
  2. Beer lines were long prepare accordingly. Also your selection of beer is much reduced at the craft beer area but still plenty of good ones to choose.
  3. Don’t let rain scare you off. All but one stage have tents. Rain tends to scare off folks which means less lines for you including the beer line.
  4. There are a low percentage of mask wearers so if you’re nervous take that into consideration.
  5. If you see a big guy with a red mohawk taking photos say hello, it’s me.

The Brotherhood Singers


The Western Flyers

Plena Es

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Essential Info for Your Folk Festival Weekend

The 17th Folk Festival kicks off on Friday here is what you need to know to make the most of the weekend.

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The 17th Richmond Folk Festival begins tomorrow, Friday, October 8, and runs for three days full of more music, food and fun than you can imagine. 

With five stages and nearly 70 performances over three days many people plan to spend more than one day at the festival. Add in more than 30 food vendors, a crafts marketplace, a Virginia Folklife demonstration area, and one of the most beautiful festival sites in Richmond, and we think you’ll want to go for multiple days to experience as much as possible

Here are a few essentials to enhance your visit:

Festival Hours

  • Friday, October 8, 6:30-10 pm
  • Saturday, October 9, 1-9:30 pm
  • Sunday, October 10, 1-6 pm

Performers
Read up on all of the fantastic artists who will perform. With styles ranging from jazz to gospel, Irish, rockabilly, salsa and more, there’s something for everyone to love or learn about.

Performance Schedule: Take a peek now so you can plan ahead!

Easy ways to get to the festival

  • Use a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber and get dropped off at 690 Byrd Street
  • Ride your bike and park at 2nd and Byrd Streets or 5th and Tredegar Streets
  • Walk across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (or the T Pot, if you’re a local!)
  • Paid parking is available in nearby surface parking lots and street parking in the area 
  • GRTC offers FREE and easy public bus transportation options for Downtown’s riverfront. Plan your trip here.

Maps and directions
The Richmond Folk Festival takes place on downtown Richmond’s historic riverfront, from 2nd to 7th streets and from Byrd Street to the river – including Brown’s Island, the American Civil War Center at Tredegar, portions of Federal Reserve parking lots, and Tredegar Street.

Admission
FREE! Enjoy all of the performances on all 5 stages at no cost. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.

Donations
This is a LARGE festival with a hefty budget that is supported largely by generous sponsors. However, the festival needs your help to remain FREE and sustainable! There is a suggested donation of $10 per person per day that can be made online HERE, or by finding a volunteer in a bright orange shirt carrying a bright orange bucket at the festival and making a “Drop in the Bucket!” Or, you can text FOLK to 44321 to give from your mobile phone. Thanks for your help in keeping the festival FREE!

Purchasing beer and festival merchandise
There are NO CASH SALES on site for beverages or festival merchandise. Debit and Credit cards are accepted.

Beverages are also available for online ordering – either before you leave home or once you’re on the festival grounds. Pre-ordering through the Noble App allows for drinks to be ready when you get there! Please be sure to download the Noble App and create an account/password in preparation for beverage purchasing – and be sure to remember your password! But you can also simply purchase in person with a debit or credit card.

Please do NOT bring 
Dogs (except for service animals), coolers/large backpacks, alcohol, bottles or glass of any kind, drugs, weapons, laser pointers, bikes on site (they may be parked outside the festival grounds), skateboards, inline skates, or flying objects (drones, kites, frisbees, footballs).

CarMax Family Area reminder
Due to the highly interactive nature of the activities planned for the CarMax Family Area, we will not host a family area this year. Because of the lack of an approved Covid 19 vaccine for children under 12, we believe canceling the Family Area activities is best for the safety of our littlest patrons. The Children’s Museum will be back to host the much-loved CarMax Family Area in 2022!

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