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MMCA Seoul. Photo: Jinho Jung, Flickr.
MMCA Seoul. Photo: Jinho Jung, Flickr.

Museums Across the Globe Cautiously Reopen [UPDATED]

As the rate of new Covid-19 infections has slowed in certain parts of the world, more museums in Asia and Europe have begun to reopen their doors. Many are following recommendations for ensuring visitor safety released by the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art. The guidelines are based on policies implemented by the National Gallery Singapore, M+ Hong Kong, and the Mori Art Museum in March and include screening the temperatures of all visitors, registering visitors, limiting large groups, and maintaining social distancing between individuals.

In Austria, cultural institutions have been permitted to reopen since mid-May, though some state-run museums have announced they will delay reopening until June. Vienna’s Belvedere, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) will reopen on June 1. 

In France, the Musée Bourdelle and the Petit Palais in Paris announced they would reopen on June 16, and the Musée d’Art Moderne in July. Most major museums, including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou, remain closed.

In Germany, state museums such as Berlin’s Pergamon, Alte Nationalgalerie, and Gemäldegalerie reopened on May 12, with visitors in almost all cases required to book an allotted time slot online. The Hamburger Banhof and the Bode Museum in Berlin and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne opened on May 4 and May 5, respectively. The Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt opened on May 6, as did the Städel Museum, and most galleries across the country were allowed to reopen during the last week of April. The KW Institute for Contemporary Art announced it would reopen on May 30.

The Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA) partially reopened in the first week of May, implementing a daily admission system that allows patrons to enter for two-hour slots. Tickets are issued on-site, where public programs and tour guides are still being suspended. Six exhibitions, including the British landscape painting show “A Sense of Place: from Turner to Hockney,” are currently on view. The museum closed on January 29, briefly reopened on March 11, and closed again shortly thereafter.

In Italy, among the first art institutions to reopen were the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte in Naples, which welcomed visitors on May 18, as did collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, in Turin. The contemporary art museum Castello di Rivoli near Turin and the Galleria Borghese and Musei Capitolini in Rome reopened on May 19, while the Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan announced that it would reopen on May 23. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice will likely reopen in early June.

In South Korea, all four of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), branches in Cheongju, Deoksugung, Gwacheon, and Seoul—which have been closed since February 24—reopened in early May, after the nation’s number of new Covid-19 cases dropped to thirteen and zero new domestic infections were reported for the third straight day as of May 9. The number of admitted visitors will be strictly limited through an online booking system, with similar visitor safety measures being followed as in Hong Kong.

In Switzerland, where the Swiss Federal Council announced that museums would be allowed to accept visitors during the second week of May, the Fondation Beyeler near Basel reopened on Monday, May 11. The Kunsthalle Basel, the Kunstmuseum Bern, the Paul Klee Center, and the Museum Rietberg reopened on May 12, and the Kunsthaus Zurich welcomed visitors on May 15.