Updates to Our Community Regarding COVID-19

Please refer to this page for updates as they become available.

JULY 9, 2020 – 5:30 P.M. PDT

Due to the recent rise in community spread of COVID-19 across San Diego and Imperial Counties, the San Diego Museum of Man remains temporarily closed. While we were preparing to reopen in mid-July, we will now postpone based on the latest guidance of state and county officials. We believe this decision is best for the safety of our employees, our visitors, and the public at large.  Our team will continue to monitor the situation and reopen when it is safe to do so. Subscribe to our mailing list, follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), or check back here for updates.


 

Past Updates:

JUNE 26, 2020 – 3:30 P.M. PDT

We are heartbroken to announce that, due to the devastating impacts of COVID-19, the Museum of Man will be separating 43 employees—all of whom have been on furlough since April 3—effective June 30, 2020. We care deeply for these individuals, and took a variety of steps to support them during the furlough. This included paying them for the first month of our mandated closure, covering their health insurance through June 30, and providing them with a severance payment upon their final separation. Members of executive management took a substantial pay cut to help allow us to take these steps.

While we desperately wish we had the financial resources to keep these team members employed—with the profound impact of the virus over the past three months and so many future unknowns—we simply do not. We acknowledge the difficult challenges of our separated employees due to our decision, and feel a deep sense of gratitude for them. No matter what their role or length of service, each and every one of them made a difference for the better here.

As we prepare to reopen in the weeks ahead, we are honored to bring back five of our furloughed team members into a newly-designed visitor services associate role. All furloughed staff, regardless of position previously held, were invited to apply for this new position. As before, our visitor experience associates will be the primary face of our organization with the public inside of the physical museum. In an effort to address longstanding challenges of equity at the Museum of Man, and in the museum field, more generally, we also have redefined the role in three key ways:

  • First, all visitor experience associates will join the team at an increased wage that is significantly greater than the living wage standards for San Diego. We are committed to further growing an organization characterized by equitable and sustainable business practices.
  • Second, all visitor experience associates will be full-time. As such, they—like every other position at the Museum of Man—will be entitled to full benefits, including paid health insurance, a significant retirement contribution, and meaningful professional development investments.
  • Third, the visitor experience associate position is designed to be a long-term career position with increased focus on opportunities for development and retention within our institution.

While we are saddened by the significant contraction of our team, we anticipate that these new and more equitable practices will lead to a better visitor experience, more efficient operations, and better employee satisfaction and retention rates going forward. We are excited to rebuild our organization with these goals top of mind.


Micah D. Parzen, Ph.D., J.D.
Chief Executive Officer

APRIL 16, 2020 – 1:30 P.M. PDT

The Museum remains closed until further notice. California Tower tours, public programs, school tours and workshops, and the Museum’s participation in Residents Free Days also remain suspended during this temporary closure.

Thank You for Doing Your Part

Two weeks ago, we shared with you the Museum’s Proposal to Serve Community Need. Your response was phenomenal. Not only were you enthusiastically in support of our efforts, but you also shared many wonderful ideas for how we could creatively use our space for the public good. Thank you for partnering with us in this way.

While the official closure of Balboa Park delays immediate use inside our building, that didn’t stop us from using the outside of our building.

Last Friday night, we projected a message of gratitude on all four faces of the California Tower. It was a simple THANK YOU to each and every San Diegan for doing their part to help in the fight against COVID-19. We also flooded the Tower in blue light, in keeping with the worldwide #LightItBlue / #LightItUpBlue movement, to honor frontline workers everywhere.

We’ll keep the message going, and swap it out from time-to-time, in a continued show of solidarity and support for each other.

In the meantime, consistent with our mission, I hope you’ll all “inspire a human connection” today – whether with a family member, a long lost friend, or even a total stranger. That’s what will get us through all this.

Thank you for continuing to do your part,


Micah D. Parzen, Ph.D., J.D.
Chief Executive Officer

MARCH 31, 2020 – 8:30 A.M. PDT

Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on both the Museum and our broader community, we have extended the Museum’s temporary closure until further notice. California Tower tours, public programs, school tours and workshops, and our Museum’s participation in Resident’s Free Days also remain suspended during this temporary closure. In the meantime, please read our Proposal to Serve Community Need below.

A Proposal to Serve Community Need

The mission of the San Diego Museum of Man is “inspiring human connections by exploring the human experience.” Although we are closed to the public for the near-term, the COVID-19 crisis presents an extraordinary opportunity for us to deliver on our mission, but in a new way. During WWII, the Navy took over the Museum and converted us into a hospital to care for the wounded and sick. What role can we play in serving the needs of our community today?

We have 60,000 square feet of empty, unused space. We are centrally located in the city, with numerous hospitals, clinics, and social services agencies in close proximity. We have a large plaza at our front door with easy roadside drop-off and pick-up. We are accessible to the differently abled. We can and should be a venue to help our community through this challenging time.

The experts know what our community will need in the days, weeks, and months to come. How can the Museum most effectively be a part of that solution? Could we be an overflow space for the sick? Could we serve as a COVID-19 testing center? Could we become a child-care drop-off for health care workers on the front lines? Could we convert into a facility that supports people who are homeless? Could we transform into a food distribution center? What other role could we play?

We need to be proactive and act quickly, without the encumbrance of red tape. We need to anticipate and prepare for meeting our community’s needs, before it’s too late. Things are moving too fast for us to sit on our hands, especially when we know what’s coming. Other communities are finding innovative ways to skate to where the puck will soon be. We can and must do the same.

Please think of the San Diego Museum of Man as a resource that is at the community’s disposal, particularly if you are positioned to help us plan and implement an innovative way to serve. If one museum creates and acts upon a partnership of this kind, other institutions will step up, too, until, eventually the entirety of Balboa Park serves as the collective resource that it can, and should be, during this challenging time.

Please help us understand what our community needs most right now and how we can help. My board and our institution stand at the ready.

I can be reached by email at mparzen@museumofman.org, at any time. We would love to hear your ideas.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.


Micah D. Parzen, Ph.D., J.D.
Chief Executive Officer

MARCH 13, 2020 – 8:40 P.M. PST
In response to the continuously evolving COVID-19 outbreak, the San Diego Museum of Man is temporarily closed to the public effective immediately through the end of March 2020. This decision stems from state and local health department recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and is in line with our fellow arts and culture institutions in Balboa Park.

 

As previously stated, California Tower tours, public programs, and our Museum’s participation in Resident’s Free Days are suspended until further notice. Additionally, all school tours and workshops are suspended until April 6, 2020 in accordance with school closures mandated by the San Diego Unified School District.

 

The Museum will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the California Department of Public Health, and the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency to make informed, timely decisions that are in the best interest of public health for our community members, visitors, and staff.

 

We remain committed to the health and well-being of our community and as always, we are available to answer any questions you may have – please contact CFO/COO Erin Spiewak at espiewak@museumofman.org or (619) 239-2001 x 18.

 

We look forward to reopening and welcoming visitors back to the Museum as soon as we can safely and responsibly do so.

 


Micah D. Parzen, Ph.D., J.D.
Chief Executive Officer
MARCH 13, 2020 – 2:30 P.M. PST

The health and safety of our guests, employees, volunteers, and community is our highest priority. With the increase of COVID-19 cases worldwide, the San Diego Museum of Man is proactively taking the necessary precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Our goal is to make thoughtful, informed decisions to maintain a healthy environment for the wellbeing and comfort of our guests, community members, and staff.

At this time, the Museum is open to the public during its regular operating hours. However, following guidelines set forth by Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Department of Public Health, and the San Diego County Public Health Officer, California Tower tours, public programs, and our Museum’s participation in Resident’s Free Days will be suspended effective immediately until further notice. Furthermore, all school tours and workshops will be suspended until April 6, 2020 in accordance with school closures mandated by the San Diego Unified School District.

As we continue to monitor this rapidly developing situation, we are increasing custodial and exhibit cleaning protocols for sanitizing frequently touched surfaces. We also will continue to provide hand-sanitizing stations throughout the Museum as supplies are available. Additionally, all Visitor Experience team members will use appropriate gloves when handling currency and distributing tickets.

If you are unwell, we ask that you please postpone your visit and call to reschedule any California Tower tour tickets that have already been purchased. General admission and Cannibals: Myth & Reality tickets are not date-specific and may be redeemed at any time. As always, we are available to answer any questions you may have – please contact CFO/COO Erin Spiewak at espiewak@museumofman.org or (619) 239-2001 x 18.

In the midst of these uncertain times, we are committed to supporting each other as a community. For over 100 years, the Museum has been a gathering place for people from all over the world to learn, have fun, and make meaningful connections with one another. In that spirit, we encourage everyone to take care of themselves – and of friends, family, neighbors, and fellow community members.

Together, we can strengthen our shared bonds of humanity and community at a time when we need it the most.


Micah D. Parzen, Ph.D., J.D.
Chief Executive Officer


Photo by Samantha Darling