I wanted to give you an update as to what is currently happening with the Children's Museum in Oak Lawn now that we've been reopened for nearly three months. It's not been an easy road and we are not out of the woods, yet. Your continued support through your donations and membership purchases are helping and we are so very appreciative of your generosity.
Wee Ones Wednesdays have been an absolute hit and I'm so glad we are offering this for the youngest of our visitors. This will likely become a permanent offering of our museum. Be on the lookout for an expansion of this initiative by summer. We are now starting to offer sensory friendly times as well and will have our first one this month. If it goes well and there is a continued demand, we will continue these into the future.
We have been booking private rental for birthday parties so if you have an interest of having the entire museum for up to 50 people for your party, email us or give us a call and we can tell you how this works.
In addition to parties, we are getting field trip inquiries and actually hosted our first field trip since last March just a couple of weeks ago. We learned a lot from the daycare who visited us about how we can safely host a field trip. While we are planning on booking field trips, times will be limited as it is our intent to not hold field trips during the time the general public and our members are visiting us. Most field trips will be held on Mondays when the museum is closed to the public.
I think the number one question we are getting right now is "How much longer will we need to use the online reservation system?" It's a common question and a fair one. The honest answer is that we don't know. At this moment we can allow up to 80 people (or 25% occupancy) in the museum under the Restore Illinois Guidelines for Museums. We have been intentionally keeping attendance between 50-65 people per session because we want to make sure our guests are comfortable. As the state guidance allows for us to increase our attendance, we will. Financially, it's been tough but the continued support of membership purchases, store purchases and donations are helping and I want to thank all of you who have been able to help.
One other important thing to note is that we are not back up to our full staffing. Our focus has been on the front end staff and making sure we have what we need for our visitors and member families to come in and play. Our office staff is very light right now. Please be assured that if you call and leave a message you will get a call back, but know that our office staff are still on limited hours. As our attendance caps are lifted by the Restore Illinois Plan, that will mean more revenue and we'll be able to start increasing the office staff to meet the needs. It's just tough right now and we appreciate your patience. One tip for getting a quicker return phone call is to call (708) 423-6709 and press ext 205 when you get the recording.
If you ever have any questions about the museum or you would like to make a donation or would like to volunteer, please feel free to call me at (708) 423-6709 ext 201 or email me.