Sparta museums open by reservation

The Monroe County Local History Room & Museum and the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum, both located in the same building in Sparta, have reopened their exhibit spaces to the public by reservation.

Both museums had been closed to the public since mid-March due to Covid-19. Staff were permitted to return to the building in late May, but social-distancing guidelines had prevented reopening to the public at that time. Staff spent the last month cleaning, painting, and improving exhibits and other public spaces in preparation of reopening.

Here are the specific guidelines being implemented to safely reopen the museums to the public:

• Guests must reserve their museum visit by calling (608) 269-8680. Reservations may be made for both museums or just one. 

• No walk-in museum visits can be accommodated at this time, but guests may call to see if a slot is immediately available.

• Slots are for 30 minutes per museum and are available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

• Maximum group size is ten people.

• All guests will be asked to wash/sanitize hands upon entering the building.

• Masks are encouraged but not required.

• Postpone your visit if you are sick or exhibiting symptoms of illness.

The Deke Slayton Museum’s children’s play area and some interactive exhibit elements at the history room will be temporarily off-limits for the safety of visitors.

The history room’s research library will continue to be open to the public by reservation Monday through Saturday from 1–4 p.m. A maximum number of two groups of no more than two people may occupy the research library at any one time. Reservations can be made by calling (608) 269-8680. No walk-ins can be accommodated.

Museum staff are developing plans for phase three, which will further lesson restrictions on visiting the museums, and will announce those plans as conditions permit.

Both the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum and the Monroe County Local History Room & Museum are at 200 W. Main St. in Sparta.

The museums’ Facebook page is at facebook.com/mclhr, and their website is at monroecountyhistory.org.

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