For a building closed just four days out of the year, having their doors shut for the past two months has been a bit of an odd experience for the National Motorcycle Museum.
Normally, New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only days the public cannot enter the motorcycle mecca, but the museum had its doors shut since March 17, due to the governor’s proclamation closing museums down. The museum was finally able to open its doors for the first time May 22, after an initial false start May 15.
“We thought we were ready a couple of weeks ago, but then the governor didn’t include us,” National Motorcycle Museum Director Bill Barber said, laughing.
During their time shut, staff spent their time diligently cleaning and disinfecting the museum, a practice that will continue as they open, did some concrete work out front, replacing the front door and freshening up some of the paint around the museum.
In opening, the museum has markers and signs reminding people to social distance, is limiting the amount of people being allowed in, limiting visitors to exclusively those 16 or older, checking staff temperature, providing hand sanitizer and is requiring all visitors to wear a facemask. Any visitors that do not have a facemask may purchase one for $1.
Getting the needed protective equipment for staff and visitors was an interesting experience, with everyone else looking for the same materials.
“We needed to buy like 200, 300. It’s hard to get ahold of that many that quick,” Barber said. “You’d find one, and it’s like, ‘delivery date: August.’ That’s not going to work.”
Even as the museum opens its doors, its annual Vintage Rally scheduled for later this summer had to be axed.
“It’s hard to get that many people into one area…and get them to socially distance,” Barber said.
Though some potential patrons grumbled at the facemask requirement, with Barber saying feedback on that was mixed, it was clear the interest in visiting the museum was there.
“We probably had 20 calls the first hour,” Barber said hours after the museum reopened.
With people still not venturing too far for trips, Barber encouraged those who had not taken the opportunity to visit the museum to give it a shot.
“There’s something for everyone,” he said.