Museums in Germany started reopening with strict new safety measures.
The Museum Barberini in Potsdam. Photo by Daniel Naber, via Wikimedia Commons.
Museums in some German states will reopen their doors in the coming weeks, as the COVID-19 lockdown is slowly lifted. The openings will require strict new safety and hygiene measures, which may contribute to a slower reopening process for some smaller museums. With much of the world still on lockdown, the art community is closely observing the efficiency of these new measures to gain a better understanding of the future of the art landscape.
Yesterday, Brandenburg opened some small museums with increased safeguards and limited visitor counts, making it the first of Germany’s 16 states to reopen museums to the public. The Brandenburg Museum Association shared guidelines for reopening, which include constructing plexiglass shields for ticket counters; accepting credit cards rather than cash payments; supplying all staff with disinfectant materials; frequent cleaning of the space; and a limit of one visitor per 15-square meter (or 161-square-foot) area. Museums should not offer group tours and should only provide audio guides if they can be carefully disinfected after each use.
According to a report in The Art Newspaper, museums in Berlin and Saxony will begin reopening on May 4th. The German Museums Association’s newly announced safety measures are similar to those of the Brandenburg Museum Association, outlined above. These new guidelines may prove to be more of a challenge for Berlin’s larger museums. Of the city’s 170 private and civic institutions, many welcome millions of visitors each year. With additional costs required to accommodate the guidelines and an expected drop in visitor numbers, the German Museums Association is calling on politicians and sponsors to support museums during this time.
Some German galleries began reopening last week, with their own recommendations including a visitor limit and facemasks. German officials remain extremely cautious amidst these reopenings, emphasizing the volatility of the current circumstances. Berlin mayor, Michael Müller, said in a statement quoted by artnet News that there is no “general all-clear” at a time like this.