The Spanish government’s Ministry of Culture and Sport has recently published a document detailing how museums and galleries may be able to manage visitors and collections once lockdown has been fully lifted in Spain. Xanthe Brooke has written a summary of their guidance:
‘In addition to implementing hygiene and physical distancing rules the Dept. considers that in the short term at least there will be no room for block-buster exhibitions attracting mass tourism, nor social and educational activities attracting groups of visitors, and that cultural activities should resume with the limitation of capacity to one third. Museum libraries, archives and research rooms will not be available to the public until the de-escalation phases have been completed and, in any case, assistance by telematic means will prevail.
Instead museums and galleries should continue to make their collections accessible by placing their collections online by digitisation, virtual reality, and other technological means. The Dept. goes on to state that though lower visitor numbers might increase the quality of the visit, it might also lead to a more ‘elitist museum’, and so museums must ensure that future visitors are diverse, and seek out methods in which participation can involve different sectors of society.
The Reina Sofía Museum of Contemporary Art has already announced that when it re-opens, sometime in early to mid-June, as well as abiding by hygiene and temperature advice, it will: aim to reduce its visitor numbers to 30% of its previous footfall; introduce a 1-way system around its rooms; and withdraw paper brochures, maps, plans and guides to the museum to prevent the transfer of the virus, and instead introduce an app for visitors’ mobile phones.’
The Arts Society Connected (formerly NADFAS, the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) is a new digital platform being launched on 7th April by The Arts Society, the UK’s leading arts education charity. Free to both The Arts Society’s 90,000 Members as well as the general public, The Arts Society Connected will host a series of fortnightly lectures by the UK’s leading art historians, as well as film screenings, live author Q&As and a community forum for anyone using the platform. The aim of the platform is to help older Members of the population stay connected, educated, entertained and informed over the next three months. The core aims of the charity are to create a better, healthier and more connected society through the power of the arts to nourish and empower. The platform will create a welcoming community for both existing Members as well as the general public.
The Arts Society has moved quickly in response to the COVID-19 crisis to create this digital platform as a large proportion of Members are aged 70 and above and will be forced to isolate over the coming months. The Arts Society consists of 380 individual Membership groups, who organise regular lectures and educational trips to museums and galleries throughout the year. With the inability of Members to meet in person, The Arts Society Connected will ensure that Members are able to stay connected online even while they remain in isolation. The Arts Society is working with its directory of Accredited Lecturers to create exclusive video lectures for the new platform. Lectures will be uploaded every other Tuesday at 11am. Members will be encouraged to take part in a community moment, when anyone planning on watching the talk can make a cup of tea at home and join the community forums online for a chat before and after the lecture. The lecturer will also be available to answer questions in the community forums following their lecture.
The platform features an inaugural lectureon Las Meninas by Velázquez by Arts Society Accredited Lecturer, art historian and linguist, Jacqueline Cockburn.
ARTES members are invited to join this Facebook group, to request and share scans (insofar as they do not violate U.S. or international copyright laws) of scholarly texts and primary sources in aid of remote research by independent and affiliated scholars of early modern Spain. The focus of this group is history and history of art, but all scholars of early modern Spain are welcome.