The Putnam Museum and Science Center (1717 W. 12th St., Davenport) reopened to members on Wednesday, July 8 and will open to the public on Wednesday, July 15 – under new guidelines to help ensure the health, safety and enjoyment of staff and visitors.

After being closed since mid-March, the museum will be open Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Up to 50 guests will be permitted in the museum at any given time to allow for social distancing. Advanced ticketing is highly encouraged at Putnam.org or by calling 563-324-1933. Admission will be based on timed entry.

The Putnam Museum’s new entrance is through the Figge Natural Science Wing.

If you don’t purchase an advanced ticket and the museum is at capacity, you will be asked to wait outside in your vehicle. Call 563-324-1933 prior to your visit to see if spaces are available.

Putnam employees are required to wear masks, and they request visitors to wear masks as well (over the nose and mouth).

When planning your visit, note that the Science Center and other interactives are closed at this time. Exhibits will be cleaned on a rotating basis during the day. A closure for cleaning schedule will be available at the ticketing desk.

Putnam president/CEO Rachael Mullins previously said the Putnam took longer to reopen (among Iowa Q-C museums) to implement the new visitor entry, in the natural science wing, closer to exhibits. Visit lengths may also be capped depending on other reservations for the day.

Rachael Mullins

“As it became clear this museum closure would be for an extended period of time, we decided we would take this time to revisit our facility and exhibits, and to reinvigorate the visitor experience at the Putnam,” Mullins said.

The entire Putnam annex – including the previous grand lobby, store, and Giant Screen Theater — will be closed until August. When the 264-seat theater does reopen, it will only be for limited school groups at first.

Visitors should enter through the V.O. Figge Natural Science Entrance, located directly off the parking lot. Please practice social distancing while awaiting admission. Among other guidelines are:

  • No food or drink is allowed inside the museum.
  • Credit or debit cards are preferred.
  • Family units are encouraged to stay together.
  • The Putnam encourages social distancing as best you can and use the posted exhibit capacities as a guide. If the area you are in gets too crowded, you may choose to move to another area that is not so crowded.
  • Staff will be cleaning exhibit galleries periodically throughout the day. Areas will be closed for short periods of time to clean surfaces.
  • Please wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and please stay home if you feel sick or have any symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Please follow all posted instructions while visiting the museum. Covid-19 is a contagious disease with potentially severe consequences. An inherent risk of exposure to Covid exists in any public place where people are present. By visiting the Putnam Museum and Science Center, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19.

Putnam members visit the museum on its first day of reopening, Wednesday, July 8.

The Putnam also has a contemporary history initiative, asking area residents to submit stories, photos or items related to the current global pandemic, which has claimed over 132,000 U.S. lives so far.

“The Putnam is a contemporary collecting institution, so we continue to collect and build the artifacts and archives around contemporary issues,” Mullins said. “We launched a contemporary history collection three months ago, around the Covid-19 pandemic, and we have submitted stories and images. We have a couple that got married in the middle of the pandemic who submitted their story.”

Children have been doing journaling, and the Putnam partnered with Vera French to do a family journal template, which families can print out from the website and use as a guide at home.

Mullins recorded a video tour of the current women’s suffrage exhibit – “Liberated Voices / Changed Lives” – and they’re planning a 100th-anniversary celebration of the 19th Amendment in August, that may be a more virtual activity, with sponsor Royal Neighbors of America, she said.

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (giving women the right to vote) was adopted by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified by 36 states Aug. 18, 1920. Illinois was the first state to ratify it June 10, 1920, and Iowa the 10th, on July 2.

In the Putnam exhibit, you can see how Quad-Cities women made the case for and against women’s right to vote. Travel back in time to investigate the local roots of the women’s suffrage movement from the perspective of local women and men from 1900 to 1920.

In “Liberated Voices / Changed Lives,” you’ll see how household inventions — from the simple toaster to the more complex electric washing machine — created more free time for local women to organize in the movement, and transformed their lifestyle leading up to and directly after the signing of the 19th Amendment. The exhibit also will be extended into early September, Mullins said.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.