How Museums are Dealing with the Pandemic
During these difficult times, many businesses have been struggling to stay open. They are unable to open safely and are forced to stay closed or completely shut down. Many museums have struggled with this issue and nearly one third of all US museums have remained closed. Some in New York have offered virtual options to ensure their safety, but many have decided to reopen with limited occupance. How long will this last though?
New York is the most popular tourist destination in the United States. This means that around the holidays, the streets are packed and so are the attractions. The New York Times stated that tourism in this city is down by 93% since the pandemic. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, and Natural History Museum, among others, have offered virtual tours and sessions for those who still want a somewhat similar experience. They have also decided to open for limited availability.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been open since the beginning of September for in-person viewing and has implemented rules for safety. These include masks for all over the age of two, remaining six feet apart, mandatory online booking for reservations, temperature checks and they are refraining from coat checks. This was applying to every other museum as well that decided to reopen.
The Met is ensuring that its ventilation systems are working properly, including monitoring filtration and humidification, they assured on their website. This museum has upgraded their virtual tour option and created 360 ํ view videos for each section of the museum to make it seem realistic.
In addition to social distancing rules, these museums have also been having their visitors use their devices to access what would usually be given to them on paper. The MoMA has the visitors use virtual maps and audio devices from their phone, such as for audio tours. They have also changed their hours to make them shorter. When reserving online they even have a limit for parties and “are limited to up to two adult, senior, and student tickets and two children per order.” Many of these admission tickets are also only given a 30-minute in person viewing window based on how busy it is.
With the uprise in COVID cases, these museums will be facing the same challenge they dealt with a few months ago and may need to rely on online only viewing.