Museums Are Starting to Reopen — and Some Are Requiring Wearable Social Distancing Devices

Officials at the Duomo also noted in the reopening announcement that guests will be required to wear face masks and it will make hand sanitizer widely available for all.

Museums around the globe will likely require similar measures when the time comes for them to open to the public as well, as they too will be working off the guidelines set out in April by the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art.

The global museum network, which counts more than 35,000 members in its ranks, set out the visitor guidelines, which include temperature screenings, visitor registration for potential contact tracing, requiring masks upon entry, and even the potential for museums to turn away guests who have been to hot zone areas in the last two weeks. Other guidelines include barriers and markers to encourage social distancing, as well as increased cleanings and training staff on how to properly implement all the new measures.

In the United States, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will become the first major institution to open its doors this weekend.

“Each of us plays a role in a safe reopening, with social distancing, face masks, and additional health and safety precautions in place,” the museum shared in its announcement. “We recognize that circumstances may change at any moment. But we remain hopeful that we will be able to serve our public under the safest possible conditions and under new norms, ones to which Houstonians across the city are already becoming accustomed.”

As for how museum staffers really feel about the new rules, Thomas Köhler, the director of the Berlinische Galerie, told The New York Times, the new protocols are “not pleasant, but it is necessary,” adding, “I think the joy that people will get from being back in the museum will be bigger than the inconvenience.”

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