As Berks County prepares for a partial reopening in the coming weeks, the Reading Public Museum has announced changes to its exhibition schedule for the summer and beyond. The highly popular Mazes and Brain Games exhibition will close on Memorial Day, which means that if the County is still closed at that point, the exhibit will have entertained its last visitors already. Fortunately, Top Secret: License to Spy, originally scheduled to open in May, is still scheduled to arrive in June and should be ready as The Museum welcomes its first visitors back following the government-mandated closure for COVID-19. This exhibition features a “James Bond-style” adventure through forensic science as visitors work through a series of mysteries and challenges to solve a crime. This exhibition will continue into the fall due to its delayed opening, and the art exhibition Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau will open as planned in September, followed Forever Forest, by an interactive science exhibit for children, opening in October.
Also slated to be open this summer is Flamenco: From Spain to the U.S., which traces this folkloric art form from the Gypsy people of Spain through its rise as international art now enjoyed by millions. The exhibition includes costumes, musical instruments, posters and other objects, both historical and contemporary, and traces flamenco’s transition from recording studios to the silver screen permitting it to gain a massive worldwide audience. Flamenco: From Spain to the U.S. has been organized by the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe and is touring through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions, with generous support by Heritage Hotels and Resorts and the New Mexico Multi-Cultural Foundation.
While looking toward a return to welcoming visitors inside The Museum’s galleries, the popular distance learning kits developed for at-home instruction and on-line planetarium shows from the Neag Planetarium will continue until the end of the school year later this month. Each Friday in May, beginning at 11am, museum staff provide learning kits to the public in a drive-by distribution. Supplies are limited and will be distributed until they are exhausted. Because previous weeks’ kits were so popular and sold-out before many families were able to take advantage of them, The Museum is asking for a $5 suggested donation for each kit which will help support the development of future educational efforts during this difficult time. Due to the mandated closure, the Reading Public Museum is experiencing a complete loss of revenues during its busiest season, and contributions via mail or online are always accepted. Visitors picking up kits are asked to enter through the Museum Road entrance and remain in their vehicles as kits are distributed and donations are collected.
In addition to the science kit distribution, new shows from the Neag Planetarium will be released each Wednesday as The Museum continues its “Way-Out Wednesday” programs. Last week’s shows attracted more than 1,000 views online as viewers can experience the exciting educational content usually offered under the dome on their home devices. Links to movies are made available each Wednesday morning, as well as accompanying study guides and other materials related to the programs, on The Museum’s website at www.ReadingPublicMuseum.org . Visitors can click on the “Planetarium” link at the top of the page to be directed to hotlinks for each show.