200423 Ivy Green Closed 4

Ivy Green Director Sue Pilkilton stands at the little cottage on the grounds of the birthplace of Helen Keller, which reopens for tours today. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

TUSCUMBIA— Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller and one of the Shoals area's most famous attractions, reopens today after being closed for nine weeks due to COVID-19 precautions.

Gov. Kay Ivey's declaration Thursday cleared the way for museums to reopen.

Ivy Green Director Sue Pilkilton said the process of touring the home will look a little different for the foreseeable future.

"I'm just thankful to be open and hope we never have to close the doors to Helen Keller's birthplace again."

Pilkilton said while she is grateful for Ivey's decision, she just hopes it's not too soon.

"We will most certainly continue to take precautions, but it will be doable," she said Friday. "We'll ask visitors to wear a mask upon entering the actual home, and our staff will be masked as well.

"We'll conduct the tours on the front porch, and limit the number in the group that can go inside together while the others are touring the grounds.

Visitors will be asked to keep the minimum six-foot distance at all times, Pilkilton said.

She said the tour inside the home has always been a hands-on process, going room-to-room, but "that will cease until all this is over."

Pilkilton said visitors will be encouraged not to touch items in the home but only read the  information.

"It's going to be challenging for the time being but we can do it. We're just glad to be back up and running," she said

Hours at Ivy Green are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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