JAMESTOWN – [MEDIA RELEASE] – The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution and non-profit museum dedicated to comedy, announced Thursday that it will reopen its state-of-the-art museum in Jamestown, NY, as well as the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, on Friday, July 3, 2020, following New York State officials’ authorization of Phase 4 of its New York Forward reopening plan for the Western New York region. Both museums have been temporarily closed since March 16 as a precaution due to COVID-19, just two weeks after being named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today.
The National Comedy Center has developed a multifaceted and comprehensive health and safety program entitled “LaughSafe,” which will be implemented upon reopening to ensure the health and safety of all guests and staff. In much the same way that the Comedy Center redefined the museum visitor experience with state of the art personalization and interactive technology when it first opened in 2018, the LaughSafe program has reimagined health and safety protocols in order to ensure a safe, worry-free and touch-free experience for all visitors to the National Comedy Center and Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.
With its expansive 37,000 square feet of space and non-linear, free-flow design, coupled with new reduced capacity to 25%, timed-entry ticketing and touch-free protocols, the National Comedy Center is uniquely suited to enable a safe, socially-distant and worry-free visitor experience. The Center’s rural Chautauqua County, NY home, where relatively few cases of COVID-19 cases have been reported, makes a day trip or overnight visit to Jamestown a perfect family get-away.
“We’re thrilled at the opportunity to help people start laughing again – and it’s clear that the power of comedy is more important than ever in these challenging times,” stated Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center Executive Director. “We’re so pleased that we can welcome visitors once more, and provide a safe and worry-free environment for our guests to take a much-needed break, relax and simply laugh –- loud and often — as they enjoy some of the greatest comedy of all time.”
The National Comedy Center’s LaughSafe program was developed in consultation with health professionals at UPMC Chautauqua and UPMC in Pittsburgh, including health and safety protocol reviews with UPMC epidemiologists and an on-site inspection with local UPMC Chautauqua professionals.
The LaughSafe health and safety program features include:
- “Touch-Free”: All exhibits and screens are now touch-free with the use of a disposable stylus, disposable earbuds and a new “LaughCard” featuring an RFID chip for personalized comedy.
- Temperature checks are required for all guests and staff members upon entry, as well as a daily health screening for staff members.
- Masks are required to be worn by staff and guests (including children age 2 and above) at all times.
- Museum capacity has been reduced to 25% and timed guest entry protocols have been implemented.
- Certain exhibit experiences in contained spaces are limited to small groups consisting of members of same household.
- Advanced online reservations are strongly recommended to ensure entry.
- Visitors now have a new opportunity to create their Sense of Humor profiles at home, before they visit, rather than at a kiosk within the museum.
- Social distancing markers and signage have been placed throughout the museum to ensure proper physical distance between guests.
- Hand-sanitizing stations are located throughout the museum.
- Touch-free, contactless payment options are now available.
- Museum staff have been trained extensively for new health and safety protocols.
- State-of-the-art, deep cleaning and disinfecting techniques have been implemented, including frequent disinfecting throughout the day.
- Real-time monitoring of the guest experience and guest feedback to optimize health and safety protocols.
The National Comedy Center is now in the process of producing a new LaughSafe video featuring comedian Lewis Black, who, in his own unique style of ranting and comedic rage, will remind National Comedy Center visitors to wear face masks and maintain social distance within the museum.
For more on LaughSafe, visit ComedyCenter.org/LaughSafe.
In addition to consultation with local UPMC Chautauqua health professionals, the National Comedy Center sourced local Chautauqua County companies for many of its LaughSafe initiatives, including The Resource Center and Team Jock Shop for face masks, Jamestown Soap & Solvent for cleaning and disinfecting supplies and 360 Graphics for signage.
The National Comedy Center and Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum will operate on a reduced schedule during its reopening phase, with opening hours as follows beginning Friday, July 3rd:
National Comedy Center:
- Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday , 10 am to 5 pm.
- Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum:
- Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday, 10 am to 5 pm.
- Open Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.
- Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.