GREENSBURG–The Big Well Museum in Greensburg reopened June 1, after being closed down since March 18 due to COVID-19. The museum is now open for regular business hours but safety precautions are in place in the form of signs to encourage social distancing. Many visitors wear masks as well.
"All the visitors have been respectful of the signs we have up," said Caitlin Matile, Manager of the Big Well Museum.
During the shutdown, Matile was able to do some maintenance around the museum. She painted the stairs and deep cleaned the entire building. Although Matile was able to tackle some projects during the shut down, she was excited to be able to see her staff as well as museum visitors.
"I was the only one in here for two and a half months doing all of the cleaning and getting ready, so it was nice to have visitors and my staff back in here," she said.
In the first 10 days that the museum reopened, there were 205 visitors from 21 different states. Three of those visitors were Jardin Sanchez and Marcos Montoya and their daughter Alyssa.
"[Alyssa] loved climbing up all the stairs," said Jardin.
So far in 2020 there have been 1,370 visitors to stop in Greensburg to see the well.
The Big Well, which is the world's largest hand dug well at 109 feet deep, was dug in 1888 to serve as Greensburg main water source. It served that purpose until 1932. The tourist attraction aspect of the Big Well opened as America was coming out of the Great Depression in 1939. The museum has been open through multiple wars. The above ground facility was destroyed by the May 2007 F5 tornado, but the well was intact and the entire museum rebuilt for a major tourist attraction in western Kansas. The Big Well has now survived a global pandemic and continues to be a marvel and attract visitors daily.