A lot of work has gone into cleaning surfaces and setting up signs along with plexiglass barriers in the last three weeks at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller.

Lisa Making is the executive director of the museum and said the gallery is set up in a way that makes it a little bit easier to practice social distancing.

“We are a linear path,” said Making. “We are that journey through time for our visitors so we have that advantage of being able to direct that one-way traffic for most of the museum.”

Making says it was a team effort by all the staff at the museum to get ready for a May 22 opening. A big challenge was for staff to find a way to meet the new reduced capacity limits so online timed tickets were introduced to help stagger visitors. People will not be able to enter the museums without pre-booking.

“We have 50 tickets allocated for every half hour that we’re open and right now, especially for tomorrow being Saturday, it’s going to be quite busy,” said Making. “So we’re asking everyone to pre-purchase your tickets in advance to make sure you get the time that you want to be here.”

The Aldobasic family from Calgary wanted to be among the first to visit on opening day.  Noah is almost five and his sister Madina is two.  Their mom and dad say they didn’t tell the kids they were coming to the museum until they arrived in Drumheller.

“We have a membership so we come all the time,” said Denize Aldobasic. “Like four or five times a year maybe so this has been hard for them, they always ask when is the museum going to be open so we thought we’d be here first.”

Closed exhibits

Sadly, some of the interactive exhibits at the museum have had to be closed because they’re just too difficult to regularly clean.

“For the time being we’ve had to remove, cover or close a number of our interactives,” said Making. “Just last summer we opened up our Learning Lounge, which is a large gallery dedicated to hands-on learning - that area is closed for the time being.”

Barry Falck and his wife Therese are both wearing masks, but their two year old daughter Alex isn’t.

“We kind of figured that a mask on her is not really going to work so we’ll just do our best and try and keep her hands clean,”said Falck.  “Try and keep her from touching things.”

Wearing masks at the museum isn’t mandatory but it is recommended and the gift shop will soon be selling them to visitors.

Learn more about booking tickets to the Royal Tyrrell Museum here