DuPage Children’s Museum vaccine requirement sparks protest


Courtesy of DailyHerald

A group of protesters organize outside of DuPage Children’s Museum on 301 N. Washington St. on Jan. 22 to rally against the museum’s new vaccination mandate.

Vasu Dar, Staff Writer

A group of DuPage County residents protested against the DuPage Children’s Museum’s new COVID-19 vaccine requirement on Jan. 22 along Washington Street.

The protest lasted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Protesters wanted the museum to eliminate the new requirement, which requires proof of full vaccination for all visitors eligible for the COVID-19  vaccine. 

“This was a hard decision,” museum CEO Andrea Wiles said. “We completely applaud people’s right to protest and disagree with our policy.”

The requirement was introduced on Jan. 3, a time when COVID-19 omicron infections had just begun to surge.

“The museum took this action to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during an unprecedented surge of infections,” the official museum statement said.

A big factor in this decision was the cancellation of a major museum event.

“We have an annual Bubble Bash,” Wiles said. “We host hundreds of people here on New Year’s Eve. Because of the prevalence of [omicron], we needed to cancel that.”

In order to avoid more cancellations, the museum decided to implement this vaccine requirement.

“The majority of our guests aren’t vaccinated because they can’t be vaccinated; they are under five years old,” Wiles said. “We know according to the CDC that the best way to protect children who are not vaccinated is to ensure all the adults and the people around them are.”

While the decision spurred some protests, it was also received positively.

“We ended up getting an enormous amount of support online and personally,” Wiles said. “[The day of the protest] we were busier than we have been in a long time with people coming in and saying ‘we are only here today because of your policy.’”

Many of the museum’s regular visitors believed that the vaccine requirement was the right choice for the community.

“I think they’re taking the necessary precautions to ensure that everyone can still come and have a good time,” museum member Kevin Creighton said. “It’s a little inconvenient for people but I think the overall results are still positive and it just helps keep everyone safe.” 

The museum will repeal the policy when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. They will use two specific metrics to decide when to end the requirement. 

“The two metrics that we’re really tracking are the positivity rate and hospitalization rate,” Wiles said. “We look specifically at Region 7 and Region 8, which are the surrounding communities.”

Despite the protests, Wiles and the DuPage Children’s Museum still stand by their belief that the vaccine requirement is the right decision.

“Everybody wants to do the right thing for their children and everybody wants to do the right thing for public health and for the health of their families,” Wiles said. “We’re all doing the best we can to make the best decisions we can.”