Following two successful months of being safely reopened for public visits, the Reading Public Museum is taking another step forward in using technology to better protect its visitors and its collection of priceless artifacts and artwork.

The Foundation for the Reading Public Museum, which oversees the management of The Museum, Neag Planetarium, and Arboretum has begun retrofitting all of the building’s HVAC units with 360-microwatt germicidal UV lights, the same technology used in hospitals for controlling biological growth in air handling systems.

The new technology, which will be paired with the dual-filtered high MERV rated system installed during The Museum’s most recent renovation, places The Museum’s HVAC filtering system near the top of publicly accessible buildings in terms of air quality and safety, and is designed to help add an additional level of comfort for visitors and employees, as well as prevent any biological growth that could damage the artwork and objects displayed and stored in the facility.

“Although we are always pursuing new technological advances to better protect our collection and improve the visitor experience, the COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the necessity to provide a clean and comfortable space at all times, whether visible to the eye or not” said Director and CEO John Graydon Smith.

The Museum has been pursuing a variety of funding sources during the pandemic to help reopen safely, including a crowd-funding campaign in August hosted on the GoFundMe site.

The Museum has positioned additional sanitization stations throughout the buildings, instituted touchless payment options, requires masks inside the building, and has limited capacity daily to ensure social distancing guidelines.

Grant support specifically for The Museum’s reopening plans was provided by Art Bridges, which also supported the community outreach for educational programs conducted by The Museum during the period it remained closed to the public.

Additional funding for The Museum’s safe reopening was provided by CARES Act funding, through the Berks County Commissioners.

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