NYSCI Will Re-Open Its Doors to the Public When Visitor and Staff Safety Can Be Ensured

Rethinking STEM education in a world shaped by COVID-19, NYSCI will continue to deliver virtual experiences and outdoor activities to its key audiences.

Queens, NY June 24, 2020 – The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), one of the largest hands-on science museums in the country, announced that it will re-open in mid-2021, conditions permitting. NYSCI’s building has been closed to the public since March 14 due to COVID-19.

“As a high-touch, highly interactive museum, we will be cautious about when it will be safe to reopen our doors to the public. We will do so in phases when public health professionals and other officials say it is safe and when visitors tell us they are comfortable coming,” said Margaret Honey, president and CEO of NYSCI. “The availability of an effective vaccine or treatment regimen will be factors in our decision-making. The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount.”

“Effective and meaningful STEM education depends on social engagement and explorations that involve tools and materials – at NYSCI this historically has meant a high-touch environment. Delivering on our mission to nurture generations of passionate learners, critical thinkers and active citizens remains our highest priority. Prior to reopening, we will change many of the ways in which we operate, taking the time to reimagine and improve our existing hands-on offerings, and creating new exhibitions. We will also streamline entry and purchasing experiences to comprehensively address staff and visitors’ safety concerns.”

“I am grateful beyond words to the extraordinary staff of NYSCI who have been creative and resourceful in finding new ways to fulfill our mission and serve the community in these challenging times. Their focus and hard work mean that NYSCI will come out of this pandemic stronger and more sustainable than ever,” Dr. Honey said.

Dr. Honey noted that despite the building and indoor exhibits being closed to visitors, NYSCI will continue to deliver virtual experiences to its key audiences, and will explore the possibility of offering some outdoor experiences. As restrictions are lifted, the science center will return to offering a wide range of programmatic opportunities within the building, and engage key audiences in the redesign of museum offerings. NYSCI remains committed to enacting its mission through programs that focus on:

  • Education: Serving area schools, teachers and the education community using NYSCI’s distinctive Design-Make-Play approach to learning.
  • Youth: Investing in programs, exhibits and initiatives to develop a generation of confident STEM leaders who are curious, ask hard questions, and offer creative solutions for tomorrow’s biggest challenges.
  • Community: Investing in the local community by offering engaging and empowering opportunities for STEM learning, and by helping to heal and rebuild by resuming and expanding the programs and services the neighborhood has enthusiastically supported.
  • Research: Expanding our groundbreaking STEM research working with university and education partners across the country and around the world.

“Closing the doors of NYSCI for even one day was a difficult but necessary decision,” said Melissa Vail and Francisco D’Souza, co-chairs of the NYSCI Board of Trustees. “With as much uncertainty as there is about COVID-19 and its impact on our lives, the Board has chosen a path that enables us to continue to support the local communities of Corona and Elmhurst, which have been among the hardest hit by the virus, teachers, students and families across the city, and the STEM education community through our ongoing and robust research, curricular, digital and exhibit work. Further it enables us to retain many of our talented and committed staff who are managing to effect these changes under very difficult circumstances. We’re so proud of them and the inspiring leadership of Dr. Honey.”

The re-opening plan was approved by the NYSCI Board unanimously on June 18, 2020.

The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) – The mission of the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is to nurture generations of passionate learners, critical thinkers and active citizens through an approach called Design, Make, Play. Design, Make, Play emphasizes open-ended exploration, imaginative learning and personal relevance, resulting in deep engagement and delight in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NYSCI was founded at the 1964-65 World’s Fair and has evolved into New York’s center for interactive science. For more information, visit nysci.org or call 718-699-0005. Follow NYSCI on Twitter and Instagram: @nysci, and on Facebook at: facebook.com/nysci.

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CONTACT: Mary Record, NYSCI, 646-872-6195 (cell), mrecord@nysci.org


FAQs

When the museum reopens, will it be for general admission or just members?
When the museum reopens in spring of 2021, it will be to all members of the public and our valued NYSCI members. We are exploring the possibility of small-group programs for our current members that could launch before that.

What are some of the renovations/exhibit upgrades that are being completed while NYSCI is closed?
This type of renovation work typically requires closing sections of a museum while it’s happening, so we’ll be making the most of this time. We will be rehabilitating some visitor-favorite exhibits, like Seeing the Light, and creating new exhibits that offer guests the kinds of hands-on, self-directed, genuinely interactive opportunities that NYSCI is known for.

We will also be working to enable greater ease of planning a trip here online, smoother online purchasing, contactless admission, and faster entry for members and e-ticket buyers.

We will be providing regular updates on the kinds of things we are working on. If you are not already on our mailing list, submit your email address on the form on this page.

Will NYSCI be offering any virtual experiences whilst the doors are closed? Will they be free or paid?
NYSCI offers a wide range of free digital resources from DIY tutorials, to apps, e-books and more – take a look here! We will continue to develop new free content over the coming months, and may also launch some paid, customized, highly interactive virtual experiences if there is sufficient demand.

What are some of the outdoor experiences being planned?
Keep your eyes and ears peeled – we will announce them as soon as possible!

Will Science Playground or Mini Golf be open this summer?
We will periodically evaluate current governmental and health guidance, and potential demand, to determine if we could do so in a manner that is safe for both visitors and our team.

Is NYSCI still accepting bookings for space rental during this time, like TV/film production, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, receptions, conferences and other events?
Yes! We actually have been taking bookings for these types of events over the past few months as well, and working with our guests to ensure their events can happen in the safest possible way, and within the latest government and health guidance. We will continue to be flexible with rescheduling or reconfiguring as needed, recognizing the unpredictable nature of these times. Contact us at events@nysci.org with questions.

Is the parking lot open to the public while the museum is closed?
No, NYSCI’s parking lot is not in operation while the museum is closed.

Will the admission price remain the same when you reopen?
Our General Admission ticket price will not increase, and we are currently evaluating all-inclusive pricing that will deliver the best value for visitors while providing full access to all that NYSCI has to offer.

Will the cafe/gift shop be operational when you reopen?
As of now, we plan to offer both amenities to visitors upon reopening, and will re-evaluate the situation later this year.

What additional safety steps is the museum taking to protect visitors?
As we’ve all seen over the past few months, a lot can change in a very short period of time. As we get closer to reopening to the general public, we’ll conform to the latest guidance from governmental and health officials, to ensure the safest environment for our visitors and team members. We’ll communicate those practices as people begin considering a trip to NYSCI in the spring. Any private events that take place before then will also conform to the latest guidance of government and health officials as it relates to capacity, distancing, and sanitization.

I’m a member, what happens to my membership while the museum is closed?
All memberships that were active at the time of NYSCI’s March 2020 closing, will be extended to account for the number of months that NYSCI has been closed. All memberships that were purchased while NYSCI was closed, will be extended to account for any missed time between the date of purchase, and the museum’s reopening.

Will I be receiving a new membership card with updated information?
In an effort to reduce opportunities for COVID transmission, NYSCI will be switching to digital membership cards. This also has the positive impact of reducing NYSCI’s carbon footprint. Updated digital membership cards will be provided to all members upon reopening. If you need proof of membership in order to visit an ASTC or ACM reciprocal museum, please contact membership@nysci.org.

Can I still use my NYSCI membership for reciprocal admission to participating ASTC & ACM Museums?
Yes. Please check the websites for specific museums you would like to visit to ensure that they are open to visitors. Also be sure to check the ASTC & ACM reciprocal access lists to make sure that the museum you are visiting is a participating member.

What happens if I buy someone a Gift Membership?
A Membership to NYSCI is still a great gift which will provide the recipient with one year of access to NYSCI’s exhibits & programs. Gift Memberships will be activated once they are redeemed by the recipient. If the gift is redeemed while NYSCI is closed, then the membership will be extended to account for any missed time between the date of gift redemption, and the museum’s reopening.

I have a gift shop credit from a past field trip which expires if I don’t use it – will the credit be available to me when the museum reopens?
Yes – we will extend the deadline for store-credit redemption. If you were issued a store credit in March 2020, then you will be able to contact NYSCI within 1 month of reopening in order to schedule a visit using that credit. Any credits that were more than 30-days old as of March 13th, are expired per NYSCI’s payment/credit policy. Please contact groups@nysci.org with any questions.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to the appropriate team with your questions below:
Group Visits: groups@nysci.org
Visitor Experience: visitorexperience@nysci.org
Membership: membership@nysci.org
Ticketing: tickets@nysci.org
Events / Space Rentals / Film Shoots: events@nysci.org