The long-awaited U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum will be opening at the end of the month after delays due to coronavirus. The museum will honor the nation’s Olympic and Paralympic movements, as well as its many star athletes.
It has been three years since the building of the museum in Colorado Springs began. The museum is bound to be a new hotspot in the southwest downtown area. The opening of the museum was delayed for about two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What can visitors find at the museum?
The 60,000 square-foot venue is located at Sierra Madre Street and Vermijo Avenue. It will include Olympic and Paralympic success stories. There will be galleries that feature the Winter and Summer Games, an Olympic Hall of Fame, medals, and many other aspects of the Olympic world.
Museum visitors will have access to interactive displays and radio-frequency identification technology. Visitors will be given the opportunity to customize a keepsake credential with their sport interests and accessibility needs.
Museum officials say Team USA athletes played a big role in creating the project and were often used as resources. The museum wanted to assure visitors they were receiving the most authentic experience possible.
Christopher Liedel, the museum’s CEO, released a statement on Monday announcing the July 30 opening date. He emphasized that by highlighting Olympians and Paralympians’ stories, they are also highlighting the country’s history.
Liedel claims they have the “unique privilege” to now have a physical platform to tell these stories. Visitors will surely be inspired by the values of these athletes, he said in the press release.
What does the museum expect from visitors?
It is reported that the museum expects to attract over 350,000 tourists a year. This will in turn draw attention to apartments, hotels, offices, and ultimately benefit the local economy greatly.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers claims he is excited for the opening of the facility and hopes to welcome locals and visitors to experience what the museum has to offer.
Why Colorado Springs?
Before choosing Colorado Springs, a nonprofit group and several community leaders started an initiative to build the museum in a city where there is an Olympic Training Center. Colorado Springs has also been the home to the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters since 1978.
The project was discussed in 2012 after several stakeholders joined to hopefully build the country’s first Olympic museum. One year later, the $91 million project was proposed to the city.
More On Opening Day
Admission to the museum will open on Wednesday, with ticket sales launching at 9 a.m. Memberships will be available, while regular ticket prices range from $14.95 to $24.95.
Opening day, July 30, will consist of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the museum. Due to coronavirus limitations, the event will be regulated and limited to a smaller audience.
The venue’s chief communications and business affairs officer, Peter Maiurro, clarified that there will be several COVID-19 safety protocols in place to create a safe environment at the museum.
It will be required for all staff and visitors to wear face coverings and have their temperatures checked before entering the facility. In order to abide by state and federal guidelines, galleries will have occupancy limits. Another keepsake visitors will receive is a stylus to minimize contact with touchscreen devices or other interactive digital surfaces that the museum offers guests.
The museum does not only feature a dozen galleries, but a retail store, cafe, and outdoor plaza, as well. Being that the museum’s opening is one of the most awaited events of the year, it is sure to attract a lot of attention – even more so in times of COVID-19.