Fort Walla Walla Museum is now open to the public

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — After being closed to the public since mid-March, the Fort Walla Walla Museum opened its doors on Friday.

“It’s exciting and it’s almost surreal,” said James Payne, executive director of the museum. “Financially it’s been a challenge, like with all businesses and nonprofits.”

Fortunately, they were able to receive a PPP loan as well as a grant from Humanities Washington. And while their doors were closed, they got creative.

“Since we couldn’t do the normal programming with events we just shifted our hours over to producing videos,” said Payne. “Because of the great response we had we knew that we needed to do more digital videos, and we’ve been working on that quite a bit.”

They put together virtual tours of the museum and other virtual resources, and they’ll continue to expand on those even as they welcome back the community in-person.

Though they’re opening their doors, the inside will look a little different. Social distancing signs and ground markings are placed throughout the museum, and some exhibits are temporary closed off. Masks are required, and they will have to cap their capacity at 25%.

With school starting up again, they’re also hoping to serve as a safe and educational resource for parents who may be playing teacher for the first time.

“Families in many cases are taking on an extra role when the kids are staying home with that educational experience.”

The museum will be open Fridays through Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. It’s located at 755 NE Myra Rd.