COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Three years after breaking ground at the site, the $91M U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum is set to open July 30.
The museum was supposed to open May 30, but because of coronavirus, organizers had to push the date. It's not the grand opening anyone expected, but nonetheless it's happening, and museum officials are excited to welcome in the community safely.
"We are opening during a pandemic so we have to take the necessary precautions, working with city and state officials," says Tommy Schield, Director of Marketing and Communications at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum.
Once you go inside, masks and temperature checks will be mandatory. Schield says they will also be monitoring how many guests are in certain areas at one time.
"If one gallery is close to capacity we'll be able to slow that down before we let more people that way we can be sure that we have a safe distance among our guests as they experience the museum," says Schield.
Visitors will be given their own stylist so they can use the displays without touching. There's also social distancing markers and hand sanitizer for people to use throughout the museum. But other than the covid precautions and protocols, the museum is ready for visitors.
"This is the complete collection of the Olympic torches dating back to 1936," says Schield.
With over 200 artifacts, there's a lot to see and take in. As you learn about the history of the Games and our U.S. athletes, you'll have the ability to use interactive displays. State of the art technology the museum is proud to have.
"When guests register they have the opportunity to select their favorite sports so if you select basketball and you walk up to the summer games interactive and basketball would automatically populate," says Schield. "You'll see basketball and what's interesting and what we take a lot of pride in is the parody of Olympic and Paralympic because it's in our name. So when you are learning more about basketball, it weaves in both wheelchair basketball and basketball so you learn a little bit more. The goal is to educate everyone of the Olympic and Paralympic values and sports on both sides."
With the final cleanings taking place, Schield says he's eager to get folks in the door for a safe and fulfilling visit. And looks forward to a year of celebrating athletes before the postponed Tokyo Olympics hopefully start in July of 2021.
"We always say this is more than just a sports museum, it's a museum of hopes and dreams and we are excited to tell those stories," says Schield. Athletes work so hard for that one moment to represent the United States on the world stage and it was pushed back a little bit so we'll be here and we'll tell those stories and then we'll have more stories to tell next year when the next chapter is written."
You can purchase tickets for the museum here.