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The New U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum Is Designed for Safety

We can still celebrate the Olympics this year -- at this new museum in Colorado.

Diller Scofidio/Renfro
Diller Scofidio/Renfro

2020, a year of reflecting on the Before Times, has just gifted us with another medium through which to generate normal life nostalgia: the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum

When Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on March 24 that the Summer Olympics were postponed until 2021, fans and athletes felt the void of their highly anticipated summer in Tokyo. Meanwhile, folks in Colorado were busy at work on what would have otherwise been a B-plot of the 2020 Olympics -- a US Olympic and Paralympic museum -- which has been in the works for eight years.

Now, the museum has become the summer's main event, and it's opening its doors on Thursday, July 30, according to a press release. The 60,000sqft building is located in southwest downtown Colorado Spring and features 12 galleries: Hall of Fame, Introduction to Olympism, Athlete Training, The Lab, Parade of Nations, Summer Games, Winter Games, The World Watches, Medal Collection, Final Film entitled To Take Part, Medal Ceremony, and a "frequently updated rotating gallery," which I hope will at some point showcase our olympic queen Simone Biles, exclusively.

“The stories of our Olympians and Paralympians are the stories of this nation’s history,” the museum's Chief Executive Officer Christopher Liedel said in the release. “Every American can see themselves in the members of Team USA and will be inspired by their dedication, perseverance and respect for the Olympic and Paralympic values."

Gallagher & Associates
Gallagher & Associates

The museum provides a model of how museums and other such large, indoor gatherings might look in the future, Tommy Schield, Director of Marketing and Communications, told KRDO News. Masks and temperature checks will be required upon entry, visitors will get a stylus to use on touch displays, and social distancing markers and hand sanitizer will be spread about the interior. Entry will also be limited until COVID-19 is out of the picture, Schield told KRDO.

"If one gallery is close to capacity we'll be able to slow that down before we let more people that way we can be sure that we have a safe distance among our guests as they experience the museum," Schield said.

Keep in mind that businesses putting safety precautions in place doesn't necessarily mean the location is safe -- Disneyland, for example, boasted impressive COVID-19 safety guidelines before walking back its opening plans. If you or your loved ones are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, you might be better off taking virtual tours of museums for now. 

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send your tips to randerson@thrillist.com.