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Officials use the pandemic-induced shutdown to conduct stakeholder meetings on the future of the facility.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Evergreen Air and Space Museum's extensive collection of aircraft and aviation memorabilia has reopened after a three-month closure due to COVID-19 restrictions.

McMINNVILLE -- After a lengthy hiatus, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum reopened its doors Feb. 26 to continue "its mission to promote scientific curiosity while empowering everyone to learn about the past and inspiring future use of innovation and technology," a press release from the organization said.

Home to Howard Hughes' iconic Spruce Goose and a collection of aircraft and space contraptions that fill acres of space both inside and outside two enormous buildings, the museum reopened after being closed for three months due to pandemic-related restrictions.

"We are excited to be opening to the public," Steve Scott, executive director, said. "We have a new vision for Evergreen and the best way we can realize it is to be a vibrant attraction that provides value to our community and visitors alike."

The destination, which has gone through a succession of owners and financial troubles over the past decade, typically drew more than 150,000 visitors annually from around the world but has been "severely impacted throughout the pandemic," the release said.

"However, the closures served as an opportunity to conduct stakeholder meetings, resulting in more than 900 (pieces of) input from business, community members and educational leaders," Scott said.

As a result of the meetings, education was identified as the "primary cornerstone" for the facility going forward. To that end, the museum will offer four new one-week aviation and space summer school camps this year, with curriculum developed by education experts. In addition, the museum will add two hands-on exhibits and a new collections area honoring the 75th anniversary of the Spruce Goose's maiden flight.

The museum will adhere to safety protocols until the pandemic abates, including limiting parties to six people or fewer who can undertake self-guided tours of the museum's more than 150 historic aircraft, spacecraft and exhibits, including the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, Titan II Space Launch Vehicle and the MaxFlight full-motion interactive flight simulator ride.

In addition, guests can schedule a two-hour personal tour with one of the museum's docents.

Under Oregon Health Authority edicts, 50 visitors will be allowed inside the museum at a time, so reservations are being encouraged, although walk-in visitors will be permitted if space allows.

For more information, to make a reservation or to buy tickets, call 503-434-4180 or visit evergreenmuseum.org.


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