After six months without weddings, tours, concerts or other events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Auburn's Willard Memorial Chapel will reopen to the public beginning Friday, Sept. 18.
The historic chapel, which is the only complete and unaltered one by Louis Comfort Tiffany in existence, will be open by reservation only at 2 p.m. Fridays and Sundays.
Tours will be limited to 20 people, and masks will be required. The chapel's Community Preservation Committee will be following enhanced cleaning schedules and standards, as well as a low- and no-touch visitor experience throughout the building.
Tours are $10 general admission, $8 for seniors and students, and free for children 12 and younger. To make a reservation, visit willard-chapel.org and click the "Visitors and Tours" tab.
The pandemic has affected the chapel in multiple ways. In addition to preventing the venue from hosting any events, it has also led three of its rental tenants to leave.
"It's unbelievable how the dominoes fell, with one financial door after another closing," Community Preservation Committee Executive Director Kathy Walker told The Citizen in June.
If there's an economic ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Willard Memorial Chapel has felt it.
In a news release, the committee thanked Dave Ross of Ross Landscape for maintaining the chapel's gardens, the committee board, and Ann Padlick, Pat Messina, Joann Covich and Miki Dorsey for cleaning the premises.
Renovation work at the chapel has also continued at the pandemic, and the committee is finalizing plans for use of the $550,000 it will receive from the city of Auburn's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant. The money will fund the restoration of the finished surfaces in the chapel, cleaning of the Tiffany chandeliers and landscaping work.
For more information, visit willard-chapel.org.
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