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The Museum of the Rockies announced plans for a phased reopening, starting on May 28 for members only.

The members-only access will last until May 31. Then the museum will close for two days and reopen to the general public on June 3.

After that, it will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, each week. All museum visitors must reserve tickets online, and will be required to wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart. Ticket purchases will only be available two weeks in advance, and two-day admission rates have been suspended.

“To ensure we are maintaining group control, safe distancing measures, and sanitation protocols, we will allow a limited number of people inside Museum of the Rockies each day and reduce the number of days that we are open each week,” Alicia Harvey, the museum's director of marketing, said in an email.

Harvey said museum staff have been working closely with the Gallatin City-County Health Department and Montana State University on the reopening. She said the museum has had no source of income during the closure, so she feels lucky the museum’s membership base has stayed consistent.

“We are just truly grateful to the community and our members,” Harvey said. “We’ve been thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity of the Gallatin Valley.”

The Martin Children’s Discovery Center, Taylor Planetarium, Hager Auditorium, Living History Farm and museum boardroom and classrooms will not be available for public use, according to the Museum of the Rockies’ website. All tours and events will also be suspended.

The Museum Store will be open to the public, and visitors can tour all exhibition halls, including one showcasing “Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly,” the museum’s latest exhibit. Introduced Jan. 25, the exhibit features 19 live reptiles, including a gila monster, an African dwarf crocodile, an American alligator and an alligator snapping turtle.

“In this family-friendly exhibition, you will learn how to milk a viper, learn to speak croc, and test your knowledge with Turtle Trivia or Lizard Wizard,” the museum’s website says.

Harvey said the exhibit’s Rhinoceros Iguana was bored not having any visitors, so museum staff placed a TV in front of it to keep it entertained. She said the iguana will be thrilled when visitors return.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct job title for Alicia Harvey.

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Helena Dore can be reached at or at 582-2628.