News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

High Desert Museum to Temporarily Close in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

BEND, OR — Out of deep commitment to our community, the High Desert Museum will close starting on Tuesday, March 17 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Museum will remain closed through Sunday, March 29 and will evaluate the situation as the potential reopening date draws near.

The Museum is also now postponing or canceling all programs through April 11. The Museum had already postponed or canceled programs through March 31. Check the Museum calendar at to view the relevant programs. The Museum is reaching out individually to those who had already registered for these events.

Kids’ Camp Spring Break is also canceled for the week of March 23-27. Registered individuals are being contacted.

“The health and well-being of our community is top of mind in this decision,” said Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “We hope everyone stays home and stays safe.”

“We look forward to reopening for the community. This is a decision that we made with heavy hearts,” Whitelaw added. “We’re doing all we can to ensure the well-being of our staff and volunteers, and we presently have ample supplies for the animals in our care.”

“We firmly believe closing the Museum temporarily is the right thing to do for our community,” Museum Board Chair Ryan J. Hagemann said. “Right now, we remain hopeful that we can resume operations in a matter of weeks.”

To continue offering educational content to the public, the Museum will post a Museum Moment on Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 pm, starting on Tuesday, March 17.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM: THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982.

It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum uses indoor and outdoor exhibits, wildlife in natural habitats and living history demonstrations to help people discover and appreciate this diverse region.

The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was a 2018 finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Services, and is the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence.


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