Frontier Texas! reopening museum exhibits, gift shop


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Frontier Texas! is reopening its exhibits and gift shop to the public at 25% capacity.

The nonprofit closed its museum exhibit and gift shop to the public on March 18 while keeping the visitor information center open.

“We are following the guidelines the governor has put out to maintain a 25% occupancy for our building,” Frontier Texas! Executive Director Jeff Salmon said.

While Frontier Texas! is completely back in action, COVID-19 didn’t necessarily treat the nonprofit particularly well due to the overall tourism drop in Abilene and across the country.

“The largest portion of our funding comes from a special dedicated hotel tax that can only be used for tourism promotion. That is about 65 to 67% of our operating budget that comes from those hotel revenues,” Salmon said.

Roughly a quarter of their revenue is generated through ticket sales and gift shop purchases.

Abilene has seen a slight increase in visitors as many people are flocking to places of lower density. For Frontier Texas!, which features hands-on experiences, they have taken all precautions necessary in order to welcome their visitors into a safe and healthy building, including making sure the touch screens in the exhibits are protected.

“Those we have covered with plastic wrap and we will clean those with sanitizing material between each group,” Salmon says.

Upon a visitor’s initial entry into the Frontier Texas! museum theater holding 37 seats, visitors will notice rows being blocked off by strips of tape. Only nine people (making up 25% of the room) are able to be in the theater at one time.

Once the introduction video concludes after 12 minutes, nine new visitors will be welcomed as directed by the front desk.

“That allows us to have really good control over social distancing in the museum,” Salmon says.

Normally, the nonprofit would have just finished its school tours. Luckily, it reopens heading into its busiest period of tourism.

“This time of year is when we naturally ramp up to the high tourist season and we feel like we will have some people excited to get out and experience some Texas history and some fun with us,” said Salmon.

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