The Clark County Historical Museum has been approved to reopen its doors within the next few weeks, as long as pandemic safety measures are built into its new way of doing business.
No reopening date has been set just yet, executive director Brad Richardson said, because he’s working behind the scenes to remove interactive exhibit features and to create a one-way pathway masked visitors can follow through the building while maintaining physical distance.
Attendance will be limited to 25 percent of capacity, but Richardson means to keep the number even lower than that — no more than 25 people inside the building at once, he said.
All live museum programming, such as lectures and walking tours, will continue to be online only. Removing buttons, knobs and other touchable technology is a shame, Richardson added, but he’s looking for other ways to create engagement through this interior redesign.
“We’ll have some fun with it,” he said.
Before permission to reopen the museum reached him last week, Richardson was busy pursuing a different way to get exhibits back in front of people’s eyeballs: an outdoor gallery of retired exhibit panels in front of the museum at 1511 Main St.
“Since we had no idea when we’d be able to open again, we thought, let’s bring these older exhibits to the public,” he said.
A previous exhibit called “Clark County Stories,” celebrating local diversity, has already been remounted outside so the public can view it for free. Even though he’s now working to reopen the museum’s interior, Richardson means to keep the outside panels up until the weather turns.
“These retired exhibits wind up in a back room anyway, so this is a way people can revisit them, for free,” he said.
Materials were donated by Core Industries of Camas. If the panels are damaged by vandals, reprinting the more recent ones from computer files is not a problem, Richardson said. That can’t be done with older exhibit panels, but those wouldn’t have been seen again anyway, he said — so it’s no big loss.
“We’re interested in the experiment of putting these older exhibits outside for people to enjoy another look,” he said.