Museums operating in a new world

Frankie Divencenzo, Contributing writer

COVID-19 has dealt us many bad hands, but thankfully our determination and perseverance have not allowed this pandemic to stop us.

Even though many places such as movie theaters are operating with limited hours and under strict conditions, or are even out of business entirely, some museums are thriving from their own creativity.

On Aug. 29, 2020, the doors of The Museum Of Modern Art were opened once again. That said, the doors are not completely open. There are many COVID guidelines that must be followed in order to experience the beauty of the museum.

Firstly, capacity will be limited to just 25 percent. Temperature checks and face masks will be mandatory, and the advance purchase of tickets is required. “We have never been forced to close for longer than three days— much less five months—and we can’t wait to welcome visitors to a wide range of compelling exhibitions and our permanent collection, which spans over 5,000 years of human creativity,” Max Hollein, director of The Met, said in a press release. “So many people have reached out during the time of closure to express how much they miss being at The Met, and we are eager to welcome all back to the galleries.”

The Metropolitan museum may be the exception, not the rule, due to its size and reputation. At our very own Erie Maritime Museum, operations are looking drastically different.

First of all, until further notice the museum is completely closed. As a matter of fact, most of its employees are still at home.

“Staff have been assigned to a ‘work from home’ order since the spring,” said Charles Johnson, museum educator at Erie Maritime Museum. “Daily wellness checks are going on but, for the most part, the only staff on-site are the shipwrights who live onboard the US Brig Niagara.”

Right now, many other museums are either completely out of commission or have very restricted guidelines on visitation. In some cases, virtual tours are available, giving many opportunities to those who have never been able to travel to some of the world’s most famous museums. Some museums are even being rented out for other purposes, like the Natural History Museum of London, which has been the location for live-streamed concerts during COVID.

Virtual, restricted, or completely closed, we wish the best to museums all across the globe and look forward to the day when we can once again peruse top-tier works of art.