Reassurance about the Chieti Museum: closure is temporary. But the personnel problem is real

The closure of the Chieti Museum is temporary, as authorities have reassured in recent days. But it is not known how long it will last, and above all, the staffing problem, unfortunately, is real.

After the uproar raised over the news of the closure of the National Archaeological Museum “La Civitella” in Chieti, reassurances about the temporary nature of the stop are reiterated from several quarters: the closure, Deputy Mayor Paolo De Cesare had already made known last February 4, will be temporary, as also stressed by the director of the Abruzzo Regionael Museums Directorate, Mariastella Margozzi. “The director general Mariastella Margozzi,” De Cesare said, “clarified that this is an absolutely temporary closure, due to the need to carry out maintenance work on some rooms, healing infiltrations that have been plaguing some spaces for some time. Added to this need was the need to operate in such a way that at the same time as the work, the staff could dispose of unused vacation time and leave, so that they could resume full staffing as soon as the structural work is completed. In any case, it will be a short stop, as the facility has already activated with firms to carry out the work as soon as possible, so that with the premises restored and the reorganization of the staff completed, one of the most beautiful and prestigious museums in our region and in the entire Italian museum heritage can return to full use.”

In the meantime, the discussion continues: the main point in fact is not the duration of the closure (even our headline, moreover, had not spoken of a permanent closure), but its reason, because it is true that the lack of staff is one of the two causes that led to the closure of the museum, if the institute also closes its doors because of the need for the operators to work off their vacations: after all, the gaps in staffing had been indicated as the cause of the closure in recent days by the museum’s former director, Adele Campanelli, a former MiBACT official and manager, whose words were also reported by our newspaper. Not to mention that the management has not specified how many rooms are suffering from water infiltration: one wonders, therefore, if the problem is so serious and extensive as to go so far as to decide to close the museum. What can be said is that the personnel problem is unfortunately real, because even before the closure for works, the museum opened only ten hours a week, from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, as can be verified from last fall’s schedules (at the moment, however, the museum’s page cannot be reached from the Regional Directorate’s website).

In the pre-Covid period things were going better (opening on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), but, as some local newspapers reported in November 2019, it had become necessary to reschedule the opening hours of the pole’s museums “pending the guarantee of the usual extended and continuous hours , thanks to the completion of the MiBACT competitions procedures for hiring staff.” Why the situation has reached this point is well known: Covid led to the freeze on competitions, meanwhile MiBACT staff who were supposed to retire have gone there without having had replacement, and the staffing problem becomes less and less sustainable in different parts of Italy.

“The problem,” Adele Campanelli then reiterated today, “is more serious than a work stoppage or vacation backlog. It is necessary to face the current situation with courage, to plan the necessary interventions (which in any case need staff on duty), to think of innovative strategies that adapt the operation of the Museum to the present conjuncture. The concerted and shared foundation with local institutions (municipality, province, region) has involved those administrations in the past. It is in the city’s interest to reclaim that doing together and to find in young people the passion and energy to refound Civitella. I think it’s worth it; this city cannot lose a resource like that, nor be content to see it open but underutilized.”

Campanelli’s voice was also joined by that of Cristiano Vignali, president of the “Abruzzo Tourism” association, who asked the pole to indicate the date of the reopening of Chieti’s “La Civitella” Museum with the exact expected start and end times of the works (at the moment, in fact, it is not yet known when it will reopen the museum), and to “strengthen the staff of Chieti’s museums so that they can be open more days, including through the use of volunteers from available associations, properly trained.” The association also calls on the Abruzzo Region and the City of Chieti to intercede “for the reinforcement of staff and the involvement of volunteers to increase the opening days of the museums,” and on the superintendency and the City of Chieti to “make the Archaeological Park and the Amphitheater of ’La Civitella’ available and accessible to citizens even during the period when the museum is closed for works.”

Reassurance about the Chieti Museum: closure is temporary. But the personnel problem is real
Reassurance about the Chieti Museum: closure is temporary. But the personnel problem is real

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