Starting this Friday, May 14, the Children’s Hands-On Museum of Northwest Illinois (CHOM) will be fully reopened to CHOM members and to the public.

“We are so excited about reopening our entire museum,” said Sarah Flashing, Executive Director. “We have been looking at the timing to do this, and as Illinois enters into the Bridge Phase which allows for higher capacity limits at places like museums and zoos, we will reopen under an abundance of caution.”

The Bridge Phase in Illinois begins May 14, allowing for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos, and spectator events as well as increased business operations during a transitional period between the current guidelines and Phase 5. CHOM can meet the requirements of the Bridge Phase for museums and indoor recreation which allow for 50-60% capacity.

Museum hours will continue to be 10 am to 2 pm Friday and Saturday but reservations and timed visits will no longer be required. As more volunteers return to support the work of the museum, CHOM’s schedule will change to include additional hours and days. Information on CHOM hours and changes to the schedule can be found at

The museum has been closed since March 15, 2020, because of the covid-19 pandemic. During the closure, CHOM prepared to offer a modified reopening in February 2021 that closed half of the museum but provided a timed exhibit circuit with family social distancing built into the schedule. The museum also implemented a timed-ticketing system.

“We have missed seeing families play throughout the museum and spending time in their favorite exhibits. We are thrilled to welcome everyone back to the museum,” said Sarah Flashing. “New exhibits are in the works and opportunities to volunteer in the museum and on committees are also available.”

Masks will continue to be required and temperatures taken at the doors along with regular disinfecting protocols. Families will be asked to social distance while at CHOM. Birthday parties and field trips will also resume, families and groups are encouraged to make their reservations.

The Children’s Hands-On Museum of Northwest Illinois is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, committed to inspiring all children and families to learn, explore, and create through interactive experiences. Without the support of our members, volunteers and generous donors, we would not be able to continue our commitment to nurturing a love of learning in children. To volunteer, plan a visit, schedule a field trip, or just to learn more about CHOM, visit or email us at