Burlignton County’s museums reopen

Sanitization protocols set for the county's historic sites to welcome visitors.

Historic Prison Museum in Mount Holly (Burlington County/ Special to The Sun).

For the first time in months, history buffs, art enthusiasts and those interested in learning more about the natural sciences will be able to safely visit Burlington County’s outstanding museums and galleries.

The museums and galleries at Smithville Park in Eastampton and at the Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences and the Historic Prison Museum in Mount Holly will begin welcoming back visitors to their facilities and exhibits with new protocols and safety measures to guard against the spread of coronavirus.

“Burlington County is home to so much history and culture that we’ve proudly highlighted and displayed at our top-rate facilities. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic required us to temporarily close these sites to protect people’s health and guard against the virus’ spread,” said County Board member Linda Hynes. “We’ve put safeguards in place and are thrilled to announce we can safely welcome people back to visit and enjoy these special places.”

The Historic Prison Museum, the Warden’s House Gallery and the County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences reopened Sept. 22, and will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Family groups of six or less visitors can also schedule tours on days the Prison Museum is not open.

The Smithville Mansion’s Annex Art Gallery, the Worker’s House Museum and Gallery will reopened Sept. 23, and will operate on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. The Burlington County Underground Railroad Association Museum will reopen Sept. 30, and will operate during the same hours. It will also open at other times for private tours for groups of up to 6 persons.

Access to Smithville Mansion will be limited to groups of up to six visitors who pre-register with the Friends of the Mansion at Smithville.

Among the new protocols and safeguards, visitors at all of the sites will be limited to 25 percent of the building capacity and with separate public entrances and exits and designated routes to limit crowding. Hand sanitizer stations have been set up at the entrances and exits and gift shop and reception areas, and plexiglass shields have been installed at most reception desks.

Staff and visitors will be required to undergo temperature checks, and face coverings will be required to be worn at all time. All others will be denied entry if they are unmasked.

Consumption of food and beverages will be prohibited in public areas and staff will be required to aggressively disinfect all high touch surfaces, including doorknobs and handles and rails.

Visiting hours at the Lyceum and Historic Prison sites will be Tuesday and Saturday from 10AM to 4PM.

Additional site-specific guidelines and restrictions will be posted online at www.co.burlington.nj.us/parks.