Despite the uptick of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania in recent days, a number of Philadelphia-based cultural institutions and museums are cautiously announcing reopening dates.

Most in this latest wave of announcements have set reopening dates in September, but the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall plans to reopen on Aug. 5 — and admission will be free through Sept. 5. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will reopen to the public on Aug. 14.

For the beginning phase of the Constitution Center’s reopening, hours will be Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Face masks, social distancing, and timed reservations will be required.

On Aug. 26, the center’s new semipermanent exhibition, “The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote,” will open — marking the day in 1920 that the amendment was certified by Bainbridge Colby, U.S. secretary of state.

At Eastern State Penitentiary hours will initially be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, also with social distancing, face masks required, and timed reservations purchased in advance. The site’s popular Halloween attraction, Terror Behind the Walls, has been suspended for 2020.

And coming in September …

On Sept. 3, the Museum of the American Revolution will reopen four days a week — Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance timed reservations are strongly recommended.

The Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania announced it will reopen Sept. 25 with the launch of its fall exhibition, “Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal,” a multimedia presentation of Graves’ wide-ranging work.

A detailed scale model of the 1876 Centennial Exposition will have pride of place in a new exhibition when the Please Touch Museum reopens.
MIGUEL MARTINEZ / Staff Photographer
A detailed scale model of the 1876 Centennial Exposition will have pride of place in a new exhibition when the Please Touch Museum reopens.

The Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall is firming up a plan to reopen to the general public in early September. Hours of operation will be Thursday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. The break at midday, as well as the shorter week, will allow for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, museum officials said.

Museum officials said they were not quite ready to announce a precise date.

When Please Touch does reopen, its newest exhibition, “Centennial Innovations: If You Could Change the World,” will also be unveiled. It has been delayed four months by the virus-induced shutdown.

“If you could change the world” consists of an entire gallery built around the detailed scale model of the 1876 Centennial Exposition that unfolded all around Memorial Hall. (Indeed, Memorial Hall was constructed as the exposition’s main art gallery.)

Please Touch has used the historic model as the departure point for an exhibition designed to show and inspire creativity.

Also still considering precise reopening dates are the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. September seems likely for both, officials said.

What’s open now

The Franklin Institute reopened July 8 with safety measures in place that include hand sanitizer stations and disinfecting wipes, plexiglass barriers and marked spots for social distancing. Face coverings and no-touch temperature checks are required for staff and for visitors ages 3 and up.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
The Franklin Institute reopened July 8 with safety measures in place that include hand sanitizer stations and disinfecting wipes, plexiglass barriers and marked spots for social distancing. Face coverings and no-touch temperature checks are required for staff and for visitors ages 3 and up.

A number of the region’s high-profile institutions have already reopened. The Franklin Institute, the Barnes Foundation, the Penn Museum, the Independence Seaport Museum, and the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, are already up and running.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University reopened Friday, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts reopens to the public on Sept. 12, both announced previously.

The various museums’ websites detail their coronavirus-related safety precautions.