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Spokane Museum Extends Pompeii Exhibit; Hopes To Reopen Soon

Courtesy of Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

Some good news for Spokane’s Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. Executive Director Wes Jessup says the museum will be allowed to extend the run of an important exhibit about Mt. Vesuvius. That has been closed since March because of the coronavirus.

"The Pompeii exhibition comes from Naples, Italy and we organized it to be here during the 40th anniversary of the Mt. St. Helens exhibition and Mt. St. Helens eruption. The 40th anniversary was just last Monday and we were really looking forward to kind of connecting those two volcanoes and thinking about them, obviously, different places, different times," Jessup said.

The museum was scheduled to have Pompeii through May. Now, Jessup says, it will spend the summer in Spokane and close around Labor Day. It’s running in conjunction with the exhibit about Mt. St. Helens.

Even though you can’t see them in person right now, Jessup says the museum is sharing the exhibits and some extra features about them online.

“We began webcasting our lecture series that was coordinated through the American Institute of Archaeologists and we also began running children’s programs. All of these are available online on our website at," he said.

Another bit of good news is that the MAC has been awarded a small federal CARES Act grant to help defray some of its financial losses because of Covid.

The MAC hopes to reopen at the end of May. Jessup says museums fall under phase three of Washington’s Safe Start protocol, but the museum hopes to convince the governor to move it up a level.

“We’re ready to go right now," he said. "We could offer our community a 100% safe visit and that plan has been out there awhile. We would love it if we could move from phase three to phase two.”

That’s Spokane County’s current phase. But he says, even if that’s not going to be allowed, the fact that Spokane is several days into phase two means opening day might not be more than a few weeks away.