By Patrick Phillips | May 1, 2020 at 11:44 AM EDT - Updated May 1 at 11:44 AM
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is tentatively planning to reopen to the public on May 15.
In the meantime, spokesman Chris Hauff says employees are using the time to complete improvements and safety features.
Hauff said staff members are installing ultraviolet lights in air conditioning units.
"UV light deactivates airborne or surface contaminants like mold, bacteria and viruses," he said. "The museum has also installed more than a dozen new hand sanitizing stations."
Staff have also used the closure to strip and repaint tour routes, ladder wells and open spaces aboard the museum’s flagship. The process includes blowing dirt and dust from the overhead areas, scraping off old paint, and then recoating the ship bulkheads and decks using the original U.S. Navy soft white, gray or green colors, Hauff said.
By May 15, the museum’s 28 aircraft will all be pressure-washed and several necessary repairs completed.
Staff have also reconfigured and consolidated the five self-guided tour routes aboard the USS Yorktown into four easy-to-follow routes will feature new signage featuring Patriots Point’s mascot Scrappy as the guide.
The handicap entrance to the USS Yorktown has also been renovated.
The old wood paneling just inside the gangway has been replaced, new ceiling tile has been installed and signage improved.
“Covid-19 has affected us all in negative ways, but the bright spot for us is the time we’ve had to make our museum better,” museum Executive Director Larry Murray said. “In our museum’s 44 years of existence, we’ve never had a month where our operations team could work on our vessels and exhibits without interruption. While serving the public, we can’t close the hangar deck or a tour route to perform extensive renovations. We’ve been able to do that the last few weeks. When we reopen, the USS Yorktown will look like the Navy has been back aboard.”
On May 15, visitors will only have access to self-guided tour routes.
Educational programs and guided tours will not be sold. Overnight camping operations remain suspended until further notice.
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