MiBACT: in museums "very serious staff shortage." For reopenings 4 months of experimentation

MiBACT publishes guidelines that led to the reopening of museums and the health rules we will all have to follow to avoid coronavirus infection.

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism has published guidelines for the reopening of museums and other state cultural sites (signed by Director General of Museums Antonio Lampis), as well as health rules that will be applied in all state cultural sites. The document is very helpful in understanding what reasons MiBACT has for reopening and applying certain criteria for reopening.

The guidelines were developed following the meeting with the directors of the institutes and the issuance of the prescriptions of the Covid-19 Technical and Scientific Committee for the Emergency established at the Civil Defense (which responded on May 8, 2020 after a number of meetings that we also reported on in these pages). The reopening to May 18 was also set because of “the expectation of part of the population for the reopening of cultural institutions that have been so important in the past years so much that in a few years they have developed growth rates unique in Europe in the world.” The MiBACT also stresses “the expected very high interest shown by a very large segment of the population for the production in digital environments related to museums and artistic heritage leads one to believe that there is widespread interest in a gradual return to real visits to the institutions in question, which will also be key to the restart of tourism that is indicated as predominantly domestic, hopefully concentrated toward new ways of knowing the Italian territory.”

The ministry speaks of an experimental restart in the next four months: the way of visiting the museum that awaits us, according to MiBACT, “will see a new relationship between museum visitor, hopefully marked by a greater concentration, slower and more in-depth routes, close relations between local communities is their own museum and new intense relationships between muses, Schools and Universities.” According to the ministry, there has also been a “new awareness in the public opinion of the positive reflexes of contact with works of art for the development of one’s well-being, with the now proven benefits for physical mental health particularly necessary after the period of social containment.”

The reopenings, the MiBACT says, will take place under the banner of gradualness and sustainability, and the basic condition will be the possibility of complying, with the available resources, with the prescriptions of the technical-scientific committee: museums that do not have available expenses, Lampis writes, “will have to evaluate with extreme prudence the possibility of carrying out demanding or imminent openings.” All museums are prescribed a reopening procedure based on the planning, monitoring and verification stages. Museums that have the opportunity will then be able to consider hosting school or university initiatives, increasing their own or others’ research activities.

In addition, museums will have to consider the possibility of “providing citizenship with certain services and, for example, organizing educational meetings with associations, third sector entities, usual territorial bodies and new stakeholders” even in the absence of the possibility of guaranteeing stable opening hours to the public. However, MiBACT also points out a situation of “very serious current organic shortage”: if a museum cannot open due to ongoing work or staff shortages, it will have to communicate, writes the Directorate General for Museums, "that it is closed due to reorganization/restructuring“ (italics are from the original document). Museums will then have to ”deploy every possible effort to carry out security work, wi-fi expansion, energy and fire upgrades."

The document closes with the sequence of activities deemed necessary for reopenings, subject to managerial autonomy, enumerated as follows: entry to work of technicians and employees before the reopening for preparation operations, if it has not already occurred; meeting with the Prevention and Protection Service Manager and possible Covid group as stipulated in the Secretary General’s circular of May 11, 2020; minutes with the relevant officials of the concrete possibility of observing the indications of theOpificio delle pietre dure, ICCRPAL and ISCR (they concern the protection of cultural property to avert the risks of coronavirus infection); extreme attention and reorganization use of restrooms , air conditioning and provision of new internal arrangements for activities toward persons with disabilities; careful calculation of the number of assistants for use, reception and supervision and other necessary personnel in attendance for reopening and specific training when mandatory; information to union representatives; regulation of the use of thermo-scanners when compulsory according to state or regional requirements; planning of any missions to collect personal protective equipment; implementation of any necessary understandings with the concessionaire and ALES spa who in turn must inform and/or deal with representatives of their workers and their labor physicians; updates of safety plans; internal and external publicity initiatives, based on safety indications drawn up after the opinion of the technical-scientific committee; opening measure, which will be the responsibility of the Head of the institute/employer, and related communication to the competent Prefecture, the General Directorate for Museums and the MiBACT Press Office.

Pictured: the Collegio Romano, headquarters of MiBACT.

MiBACT: in museums
MiBACT: in museums "very serious staff shortage." For reopenings 4 months of experimentation

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