Western Development Museum preparing for changes amid COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video: 'WDM preparing for changes amid COVID-19 pandemic' WDM preparing for changes amid COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: Although the WDM won't reopen until Phase 4 of the province's reopening plan, the venue is taking many steps to be prepared. – May 18, 2020

Phase 4 of Saskatchewan’s reopening doesn’t have a set date yet, but that hasn’t stopped venues such as the Western Development Museum from mapping out what life will look like when they’re allowed to open their doors.

“Right now, we’re looking at our operations,” CEO Joan Kanigan said. “How we’re set up, how our galleries are laid out, our gift shops; trying to figure out the best way that we can allow people to move through our exhibits while maintaining all of the social distancing requirements.”

READ MORE: Saskatoon’s Western Development Museum seeking images for coronavirus exhibit

The number of visitors and spacing within the museum are just a few of the challenges facing the WDM. The stringent disinfecting protocols in place are increasingly difficult for a museum, as some of the older relics can’t handle the necessary cleaning.

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“You can’t take bleach to certain artifacts,” Kanigan said. “So we’re looking at different ways of cleaning or keeping those (items) completely out of reach.”

READ MORE: Installation at Western Development Museum commemorates end of First World War

Things will look a lot different for the museum by the time they reopen as they’ve already had to cancel all additional summer programming.

On the bright side, Kanigan sees an opportunity for patrons to experience the WDM like never before when it’s reopened to the public.

“It creates opportunities for more intimate storytelling,” she said. “So, smaller groups of people, (gives them) more of an opportunity to spend more time in the spaces and engage with our history in a way that hasn’t really been possible when there’s lots of people around.”

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