Beat the heat: Columbus museums open this summer

Community News
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Since the start of Spring on March 20, the balmy weather has invited Columbusites outside. But as summer weather sets in ahead of June 20, the scorching season’s first day, a lot of people are looking for ways to get out of the heat.

Local museums, largely closed over the last year due to COVID-19, are reopening.

News 3 is keeping track of which Columbus museums are ready to be your air-conditioned hideaways this summer.

The Columbus Museum

The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road, Columbus, Ga.

Located in the heart of Midtown, The Columbus Museum closed on March 16, 2020 due to COVID-19, but reopened July 15 with new precautions. The Museum is operated in partnership with the Muscogee County School District and uses the District’s pandemic guidelines. Guests today need to wear a mask.

Parents, the Children’s Transformation Room reopens June 9. Space is limited. You can register on the Museum’s website.

Monday: Closed
Tues., Wed., Fri.: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thursday: noon - 8 p.m.
Saturday: noon - 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 - 5 p.m.
706-748-2562

The National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center

The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, 1775 Legacy Way, Columbus, Ga.

The National Infantry Museum closed its doors to the public early on in the pandemic, not only for staff and the public’s safety, but also for soldiers. Army recruits in basic training learn about military history. To help teach them, the NIM has continued tours for those troops through the pandemic. But now as more soldiers get vaccinated, the NIM says they expect to open in the next three to four weeks.

The NIM has a lot to celebrate when it does welcome back the public. The Museum won Best Free Museum and Best History Museum in the 2021 USA Today reader’s choice polls. The NIM will have a party to celebrate those awards. The Museum will also host a ribbon cutting celebration for a major overhaul of one of their six major galleries. The Sole Superpower: 1989-present gallery got a $1.8 million dollar update, thanks in part to a grant from the state of Georgia.

When the National Infantry Museum reopens, it will resume its pre-pandemic operating hours.

Monday: Closed
Tues. - Sat.: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(706) 685-5800

The Coca-Cola Space Science Center

Space Shuttle nozzle at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, 701 Front Ave, Columbus, Ga.

The Coca-Cola Space Science Center in downtown Columbus closed in March 2020 as COVID-19 crept into the community. Since reopening in Sept. 2020, the Center has followed University System of Georgia policy: “vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks on Columbus State University’s campus. Staff members are not allowed to ask guests whether or not they are vaccinated.”

The Center is offering space robotics summer camps in June and July. You can also find a schedule for the Omnisphere Theater Shows on the Center’s website. New since reopening, the Center now offers week and weekend tours of its NASA artifact collection, which includes items from Apollo missions plus $17 million worth of artifacts from the Space Shuttle program, including a main engine nozzle that flew on 9 missions.

Closed on Sundays, the Center is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturdays. (706)-649-1477

The Bo Bartlett Center

The Bo Bartlett Center, 921 Front Ave, Columbus, Ga.

This 18,000+ square foot gallery space on Columbus State University’s Riverpark campus strongly encourages masks and social distancing for the unvaccinated. Those visitors have a lot to enjoy at The Bo Bartlett Center. In addition to 14 monumental paintings by Columbus-born artist Bo Bartlett, the Center also houses an array of smaller paintings, sketches, books, and assorted accoutrements of the artist’s life and work.

Programming this summer includes the virtual continuation of Art Makes You Smart, which brings art and artists to Muscogee County School students. Every third Thursday of the month from 3 – 5 p.m., artists and aspirants alike can gather under Center’s central skylight to practice their craft with a live model.

The Bo Bartlett Center is open 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Center is closed on Sunday. (706) 507-8432

National Civil War Naval Museum

CSS Albemarle at the National Civil War Naval Museum, 1002 Victory Dr., Columbus, Ga.

With 40,000 square feet of exhibits, including the remnants of two Confederate States naval vessels, the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus is one of the largest places to escape the heat. The Museum offers tours, children’s programming, and family fun days through the week, plus special programing. There is a lot to see at the Museum, including a month-by-month timeline of United States and Confederate navies through the war, so you’ll have plenty to do on this summer’s hottest days.

The best way to keep up with all the goings-on at Port Columbus is to check the website and keep up with them on Facebook.

The Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and on Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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