The great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 killed a lot of plans for a lot of people and those who support and work for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in downtown Greensboro know that as well as anyone.
At the start of the year, the museum had huge plans to throw a giant public 60th Anniversary Celebration for the center that honors the 1960 Greensboro Sit-In and the massive movement that it started. That anniversary party was to run all year with the biggest bang being in the summer with a whole lot of festivities and a slate of national guests that read like a Who’s Who of civil rights icons.
And while the pandemic nixed or greatly altered many of those plans for 2020, the museum has been able to use the year to innovate and continue to get its message out.
For instance, the pandemic moved many of its services and offerings online, and now, at Thanksgiving in a year when the disappointments have been many, the museum that has rolled with the punches is describing itself as “A Landmark Experience Re-Cast for Today.”
A Thanksgiving weekend press release for the museum states that “Despite COVID-19, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum has continued to create and innovate.”
It states, “For the more than five months that the Civil Rights Museum was required to suspend access to visitors because of the on-going public health crisis, a core group of full-time staff members have worked to complete projects re-casting the Museum’s operations so that we can continue to educate the public about what we call ‘America’s Best Story.’”
One productive way the museum has been using its down time has been to completely refurbish its website. Museum leaders are encouraging everyone to check out the spiffy new online presence “with captivating footage, easier navigation, and new features that make it more convenient than ever to engage with the museum.”
The civil rights museum is also offering things like online filmed tours by senior tour leaders as well as interactive virtual tours. It also offers revised safe on-site staff-guided tours with a “streamlined on-boarding system” meant to make it easier than ever to see what the museum has to offer.
As a result of previous offerings, combined with its latest improvements, the civil rights museum was selected by TripAdvisor as a “Travelers’ Choice 2020,” a distinction given to only the top 10 percent of all the properties reviewed by the site.
Though COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, there will still be evidence of the pandemic for the museum’s signature event in early 2021. The giant annual gala – one of the highlights each year for the museum – will be virtual.