After being shut down for more than a year, museums across the world are beginning to show signs of reopening. Most architecture and design events that were scheduled for 2020 have been pushed a year or two, depending on the severity of the pandemic in their respective regions. But while museums are open to the public once again, administrators have installed numerous precaution measures to ensure the safety of visitors and curators, and to avoid potential re-closures.
As international travels have been revived by government officials, and tourism is expected to recover gradually, read on to discover 18 museums and exhibitions that have begun welcoming visitors into their exhibition spaces as of May 2021, and the procedures required from the attendees before and during visitations.
In pre-pandemic days, museums welcomed around 15,000 visitors a day during peak tourism season, but as of recent, daily numbers were dropped down to almost 5,000 to ensure that visitors remain distant from one another. In addition to limited capacity, museums launched online booking to avoid lengthy cue lines at the entrance and human-to-human interaction. Safety measures were also implemented by curators, as they have limited installations with tactile experiences to avoid contamination. Several museums, however, have decided to remain closed until further notice.
Related Article"Architecture is a Medium that Can Make a Difference": In Conversation with Hashim Sarkis at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale
The 2021 Venice Biennale, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, witnessed a physical opening on May 22nd. This year’s curator Hashim Sarkis, explained how the pandemic affected the Biennale and the procedures they had to follow to ensure a safe continuation of the exhibition. Hopeful and optimistic that it finally took place, Sarkis explained to ArchDaily that nothing can really be a substitute to the sensory tactile experience that physical events can bring and that the digital world is complementary to the on-site event.
“The postponement was a difficult but wise decision on the part of Roberto Cicutto, the Biennale President, and the Biennale leadership. They only took it after we gathered extensive feedback from the participants and national curators. Securing the health and safety of everybody involved was more important than securing the opening date. The participants and the curators of the national pavilions have been extremely patient and collaborative throughout this whole period. A sense of solidarity is growing among us”.
However, several countries were unable to participate in the 2021 Venice Biennale due to the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic in their countries, while others opted for a more minimal presence at the exhibition, relying on websites and QR codes to access their pavilions.
New York, United States
Designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1943 and 1959, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was the last major project by the architect. In terms of safety measures, the museum introduced new visiting hours and members-only entrances. A free digital guide is available for download, and all tickets must be bought online during specific time slots since the museum currently has reduced capacity. Amenities such as coat lockers and restaurants are temporarily closed. All visitors must be wearing a mask inside the museum, and should leave at least six feet of distance from one another. Learn more about the regulations here.
Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum continues to challenge the connections between art and architecture until this day. In terms of safety measures, the museum introduced new opening hours and installed hand sanitizers across the space. Visitors are expected to purchase their tickets online and download the audio guide on their mobile phones. All individuals should wear their masks at all times, and leave bags bigger the 35 x 35 cm at home since they are not allowed inside the museum. Learn more about the regulations here.
Daniel Libeskind's design of the museum is a radical, formal design that represents the Jewish lifestyle before, during, and after the Holocaust. In order to ensure the safety of visitors, purchasing an online ticket for a specific time slot before the visit is mandatory. Negative Point-of-Care (PoC) SARS-CoV-2 antigen test results from the day of the visit or a negative PCR test result no older than 24 hours are to be presented at the entrance. Masks are to be worn at all times and a minimum of 2 meters should be kept between attendees. Learn more about the regulations here.
I.M. Pei's design features an underground system of galleries, storage, preservation laboratories, and a connection between the wings of the museum, as well as a prominent glass and steel pyramid that holds historical and figural importance that signify the main entrance. The museum's safety measures include new opening hours and hand sanitizers across the space. Visitors should book their timeslot beforehand, and wear their masks at all times. Blue signs have been installed around the museum to guide visitors and avoid overcrowding, while some rooms have been temporarily closed. Learn more about the regulations here.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Atelier Jean Nouvel's project is founded on a major symbol of Arab architecture: the dome, but in a modernized context. The museum requires visitors to wear their masks at all times, and book their visiting time slot beforehand. Social distancing measures are in place throughout the museum, along with hand sanitizers. No paper maps or brochures will be given out at the museum, so visitors are required to download the museum's free app. Learn more about the regulations here.
New York, United States
Edward Durell Stone and Philip Goodwin's museum is one of New York's most prominent contemporary art museums, with architectural contributions by Philip Johnson and Yoshio Taniguchi. Entry to MoMA is to be booked by advance timed ticket only as capacity is limited. Restaurants will be open for window service with a limited food and beverage menu. Temperature checks are required for all visitors, along with face masks, which will be provided free of charge at the museum's entrance. Learn more about the regulations here.
With a conceptual design of a desert rose growing out of the ground, Jean Nouvel's design is the first monument travelers can see from the airport upon their arrival. Regarding safety measures, visitors must pre-book their ticket online
and present their "Ehteraz" app with a ‘Green’ health status. Every visitor must bring their own face mask and wear it at all times during the visit. Learn more about the regulations here.
Built in the 1970's, architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, built one of the most famous and radical buildings, making it a cultural staple in the French country. The museum is open again everyday except for Tuesday, but online reservations of specific time slots are compulsory for all visitors and members. Masks are to be worn at all times and distance should be kept between visitors. Learn more about the regulations here.
Atelier Deshaus combine crude industrial architecture façade and exhibit space in the Chinese modern art museum. The museum's safety regulations are more flexible than others, but regardless, masks should be worn at all times, along with constant hand sanitizing and social distancing.
MAAT is a powerful yet sensitive and low-slung building that explores the convergence of contemporary art, architecture and technology, done by AL_A. Visitors are expected to purchase their tickets online as capacity has been reduced to 5 people per 100 square meters in closed areas. All individuals should wear their masks at all times, and leave bags bigger the 35 x 35 cm at home since they are not allowed inside the museum. Learn more about the regulations here.
After the expansion by David Chipperfield Architects, the Kunsthaus Zürich represents the largest art museum in Switzerland, comprising four buildings from different eras. Visitors are expected to wear a mouth and nose protector and follow the safe-distance markings when queueing at the cash desk, shop, audio-guide counter, café, and library.
Please ensure that you maintain an appropriate distance in all other areas of the museum and avoid crowding, especially Sanitizers are available at the entrance and at the access to the cloakrooms so guests can disinfect upon entering the space. Learn more about the regulations here.
London, United Kingdom
OMA, Allies and Morrison, and John Pawson refurbished the structural shell and external envelope of the building, along with the interior spaces, and turned it into a modernist monument while retaining its distinctive copper roof and parabolic form. To ensure visitor and staff safety, online pre-booking is required for all visitors including Design Museum Members to access the building for free and paid exhibitions. The Track and Trace app should be downloaded, and masks should be worn at all times. In addition, wired headphones should be brought by the visitors to enjoy multimedia displays. Learn more about the regulations here.
Santiago Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences is perhaps the most iconic architecture in the Spanish city. Before entering the space, shoes should be disinfected on the rugs at the entrance of the buildings. Online pre-bookings are expected, along with masks and social distancing. Gloves are required in the exhibition area of the Museu de les Ciències, which are available at the exhibition's entrance. Learn more about the regulations here.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Museum of Tomorrow is a science museum also designed by the Spanish neo-futuristic architect Santiago Calatrava. The museum now has limited capacity, so the lines may be closed at any hour everyday without previous notice. Learn more about the regulations here.
The iconic Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, also know as the MAC, was designed by the famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1996. No strict measures have been assigned by the museum's administration yet but visitors are expected to follow the entrance guidelines.
Although built in 1937, the stripped down structure has been reinvigorated by architects Lacaton & Vassal, opening to the public in 2002. The museum is open again everyday except for Tuesday, but online reservations of specific time slots are compulsory for all visitors and members. Masks are to be worn at all times and distance should be kept between visitors. Bulky luggage is also prohibited. Learn more about the regulations here.
Due to the complex worldwide pandemic situation that erupted in 2020, the Venice Biennale 2020 declared a one-year postponement. Finally, the Venice Biennale will be holding the 17th International Architecture Exhibition —How will we live together?— curated by Hashim Sarkis, from May 22 to November 21, 2021. In terms of travel and access, the regulations of the Biennale are in compliance with the government's general regulations. However, within the exhibition spaces, masks are to be worn at all times and hands should be disinfected regularly. Learn more about the general regulations.
London, United Kingdom
Counterspace, directed by Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar, have collaborated with the Serpentine on a series of off-site and online research projects throughout 2020, which culminated with the opening of the Pavilion on 11 June 2021. For visits, the pavilion administration has carefully managed visitor numbers. There will be no access to public toilets at the galleries, and hand sanitizer dispensers will be provided all throughout the space. Since cloakrooms are closed, visitors are expected to leave bulky coats or large bags at home. Learn more about the general regulations here.
The Information mentioned in this article has last been updated on May 26th, 2021.