As museums begin to reopen, they're rebooting the visitor experience

March 7, 2014 - Constance Williams fishes with her 6-year-old son Duncan Winston, Jr. during a visit to the Children's Museum Friday afternoon. The museum has become accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is ranked in the top two percent of children's museums in the United States.

When museums open again, it won't be the same.

Picture this: Timed tickets. Touch-free doors. Ikea-like signs to direct foot traffic. No more docent-led group tours. And loads of hand sanitizer, of course.

"We are working on creating as much of a touchless journey as possible," said Eric Bruce, head of visitor experience for the Minneapolis Institute of Art, or Mia.

Bruce and his counterparts are strategizing ways to welcome the public following Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's order allowing museums, along with other recreational or seated entertainment venues, to reopen at 25% of capacity, with a limit of 250 people. Mia has set a July 16 reopening date.

On a national level, the American Alliance of Museums has developed reopening guidelines, including protocols for cleaning and capacity.

Unlike theaters, museums tend to be spacious, making physical distancing easier.