Below is the letter OMA sent to Governor DeWine on June 2, 2020, regarding Ohio museums and the Responsible RestartOhio plans.
Dear Governor DeWine:
The Ohio Museums Association would like to thank you, Lt. Governor Husted, and Dr. Acton for your leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate the thoughtful decisions you have made in the interest of public health and safety. As we transition to the Responsible RestartOhio plans, we would like to share some information with you, and request some feedback for the benefit of our industry.
We understand the reopening process of Ohio’s many businesses and organizations is extremely complex. We are a resource within this industry that is ready and willing to help. Ohio museums are eagerly awaiting guidelines from the state to aid them in preparing their reopen plans, so they can be ready to open their doors as soon as they are allowed. As plans and guidelines are established, we will continue to share them with our membership, and we would appreciate the opportunity to work with your office to ensure that your guidelines are communicated most effectively to museums throughout the state.
Ohio museums have a $1.54 billion impact on the economy. Unfortunately, for every day Ohio museums are closed, Ohio’s economy loses approximately $1.02 million. Ohio has over 1,300 museums – 11.1 museums for every 100,000 Ohioans, which is over twice the national average – with 25,973 jobs in Ohio supported by the museum industry.
While Ohio museums share many of the same qualities with other organizations listed under the umbrella of Entertainment/Recreation spaces as outlined in the recent health orders, Ohio’s museums are much better positioned than other organizations in this category to implement the minimum required guidelines set forward for other industries in the Responsible RestartOhio plan.
Even though Ohio’s museums are incredibly diverse, museums of all types and sizes have the ability to create environments where both the public and museum staff can visit and enjoy museums safely by following physical distancing practices and other best practices for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Founded in 1976 by members of Ohio’s museum community, the Ohio Museums Association is committed to serving our state’s dedicated museum professionals and institutions through career resources, professional development opportunities, networking events, and advocacy on state and national levels. We represent museums and their employees across the state – organizations that include art museums, history museums, science centers, nature centers, zoos and aquariums, historic homes and sites, children’s museums, and more.
With this leadership role in mind, we created Reopen Resources for Museums, including Reopen Guideline Considerations for museums, on May 4, 2020, in an attempt to provide clarity for our members in an uncertain time: https://bit.ly/3dlHSup. We have updated this resource to the best of our ability, and, in anticipation of museum-specific guidance yet to be released, have included guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health regarding reopening best practices for other Ohio industries. We have received feedback from many of our members that these resources are helpful, and the information has been widely shared.
Though the needs of individual museums may be different, our goals are the same: to serve our public, to continue to act as partners in education, to be places of community dialogue and healing, and to keep both our visitors and staff as safe as possible.
We appreciate your action and guidance to help museums open as soon as we safely can, and look forward to working with you as needed.
President, Ohio Museums Association