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18th and Vine museums reopen with noticeable safety measures

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.jpg
Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 16, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a three-month closure due to COVID-19, two museums in the 18th and Vine District reopened Tuesday.

“Today is a great first day. We’re back open again," said Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. "It’s play ball one more time."

Adjacent to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the American Jazz Museum also opened its doors on Tuesday.

“Certainly we’re knocking the cobwebs off. We’re turning the music and the jukebox back on,” said Rashida Phillips, executive director of the American Jazz Museum.

Both directors say the time off has been challenging, adding they have had to work together to find an appropriate way to welcome back guests.

“No admissions for the last three months. So again, you’re challenging yourself creatively to figure out different ways to inject revenue back into your operations,” Kendrick said.

Both museums are members of KC Culture Cares, a group of 25 metro museums working together with the goal of creating comprehensive safety guidelines for visitors.

“I think as a museum this is a health-conscious space. Not only as we’re sanitizing, but mentally,” Phillips said.

The American Jazz Museum's first day back was busier than expected, with nearly 100 tickets purchased on Tuesday.

“And it’s just good for the spirit and good for the soul to get out and be able to listen to music and find yourself,” Phillips said.

Both sites have committed to increased sanitizing efforts, social distancing policies and face mask recommendations. Sessions are split into two per day to limit the number of guests per exhibit.