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Farmington Museum reopens with extended run of exhibitions


Facility welcomes visitors again for first time since March

Mike Easterling   | Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — When the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park was closed in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing was especially unfortunate from the perspective of the institution's management.

The museum had just opened two major traveling exhibitions — "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame" and "Inside Out: An Exhibition of Women's Status and Roles in American Society as Reflected in Fashion from Foundation to Silhouette" – and it was expected that both would be very popular.

But the governor's public health orders mandating the closure of most public facilities almost dashed those hopes. Both exhibitions were scheduled to close this summer, and that meant there was little chance of the public getting a chance to see them before they were contractually obligated to move on.

That situation has now changed. Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham has amended her public health orders, and the Farmington Museum was set to reopen at 10 a.m. Aug. 29 and will be allowed to operate at 25% of capacity.

Best of all, as museum Director Bart Wilsey said, the run of both exhibitions has been extended for several months, meaning local audiences will have plenty of chances to stop by for a look.

"We are wonderfully excited to be ready to open while we have two fantastic exhibits at the museum," Wilsey said.

The museum already had been able to negotiate an extension to the run of "Inside Out" earlier this summer. The show originally was scheduled to close on July 12, but its Farmington run was extended in June through the end of October.

Wilsey was delighted to arrange a similar extension for the "Gridiron Glory" show, which originally was scheduled to close on Aug. 30. He said in June he believed there was no chance of extending the show's run because it was booked to appear at a facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, this fall. But that situation changed over the summer when that institution did not fulfill its contract.

Wilsey said a deal with hall of fame officials has not been finalized, but he said a tentative agreement has been reached that will allow "Gridiron Glory" to remain in Farmington through February.

"That has worked out to our benefit," he said.

"Gridiron Glory" features hundreds of artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, including a Vince Lombardi Trophy, equipment and uniforms worn by many of the game's legends and dozens of interactive displays. Wilsey said the museum has had to make adjustments to those interactive displays to make them safe and comply with the governor's public health orders.

"We'll be giving out little styluses to activate the touch screens without people having to touch them," he said, adding that the museum also has had to block access to three interactive displays that can't be used during the pandemic.

Regular admission to "Gridiron Glory" is $8 for adults, and $6 for children ages 3 to 16, people older than 60 and members of the military. But those prices will be cut in half on Aug. 29-30.

Admission to "Inside Out" is free. The exhibition covers 150 years of women's fashion, specifically the progression of women's undergarments.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Call 505-599-1174 or visit farmingtonmuseum.org for more information.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.