Lambton County’s two museums, its public archives and its art gallery will reopen to the public Feb. 2 with limited capacity as Ontario eases some pandemic restrictions.
As of Jan. 31 in Ontario, museums and galleries are among the venues allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity under revised provincial public-health rules.
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The county’s Lambton Heritage Museum in Lambton Shores, Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia and its public archives in Wyoming have been closed to the public since early January because of the latest provincial shutdown.
The county’s Oil Museum of Canada has been closed for an extended period to allow major renovations of its main building, but it is set to reopen Feb. 2, along with Lambton’s other cultural sites.
The 1960’s-era building in Oil Springs has undergone more than $1 million in renovations, including new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, energy-efficient lighting, and new windows and doors.
“The Oil Museum was first opened in 1960 and had its last major renovation 30 years ago,” said Laurie Webb, the county’s manager of museums, gallery and archives.
“This project has not only allowed us to bring the physical building and its systems up to modern standards, but has given us the opportunity to completely redesign the permanent exhibition,” she said.
“Visitors will see the significant history of the area presented in new and engaging ways.”
All of the cultural sites operated by the county will be open Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors are being asked to pre-book visits to the sites online at www.jnaag.ca and www.lambtonmuseums.ca.
The websites also list public-health guidelines for the locations.
The Sarnia Library Theatre, located upstairs at the Sarnia Public Library, is set to reopen Feb. 1.
The theatre is available for rentals by individuals and community organizations, following public-health guidelines. Information can be found online at lclibrary.ca/theatre.
The Mooretown Library, located at the Mooretown Sports Complex, is also scheduled to reopen Feb. 1, with both in-person services and the return of its book return drop boxes. It had been closed while the sports complex was closed by the restrictions.
All 25 branches of the Lambton County Library will continue offering curbside pickup service, in-person browsing, Wi-Fi and research, as capacity limits allow, as well as scheduled public computer appointments.
The exception is the Forest Library, which is set to close Feb. 5 for the next phase of a renovation project.
That branch is expected to reopen March 1.
The first phase of the $58,500 project was completed in October and included creating a new community meeting room, improvements to the children’s area, paint, and the adding of power and data outlets.
The library said the next phase includes new shelving and a new service desk, as well as new flooring and additional painting.
Information about county library branch locations, services and hours can be found online at www.lclibrary.ca.