In its role of bridging and supporting the institutions of Cultural Heritage in the country, ROCHEMP Center is partnering ICOM Armenia and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports in the major project of support to the museums and museum reserves to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and to reopen to the public in a safe mode. The Guidelines for museums’ reopening in times of COVID-19 crisis in Armenian language has been carefully developed and adapted and can be downloaded and used widely. These guidelines are a result of research and analysis of the hitherto published articles, guidelines and programs, while taking into account the peculiarities of the country. As a main source for the guidelines was used the electronic publication by ArtNet news. The guidelines were published on Friday, June 20, 2020.
At a time of a global COVID-19 crisis, cultural institutions all over the world have faced the challenge of surviving and functioning in the extraordinary conditions. In this regard, Armenia is not any different. The Armenian cultural institutions also try to understand when and how they can reopen their doors to the visitors. It is obvious that after the reopening they will operate in new realities. Thus, for successfully restarting their activities they need not only to reduce the risks of virus transmission for visitors, staff and volunteers, but also inspire trust of these three parties.
The professional bodies American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), International Council of Museums (ICOM), International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), have published their preliminary guidelines.
The instructions facilitate staff training process and assist to secure the employee well-being under given circumstances. Moreover, the instructions are developed to prepare facilities of cultural institutions for the reopening (in particular for understanding and developing an operational plan; installing protections and partitions; ramping up hygiene and cleaning), as well as to provide means and tools for the effective communication between the public and the cultural institutions in times of COVID-19 pandemic. The orienting and informing of the visitors about the procedures and safety rules by using signage, different visual and audio materials become even more important now. The instructions introduce the safety rules to be followed by visitors and implemented by staff such as ensuring protective coverings, taking body temperature, as well as compiling and tracking visitor information. The use of outdoor areas of the museums and other cultural institutions can be functional and can be used both for mitigating the in-flow and for the outdoor cultural activities, as well as for adapting parking structures and erecting temporary structures during the pandemic period. The practical instructions show how to enforce physical distancing, to establish one-way routing and to organize distancing in public areas and in the galleries.
ROCHEMP hopes that these guidelines will come in handy for Armenian cultural institutions in their efforts to reopen, and quite soon we they will be able to return to their pivotal mission—bringing knowledge, art and culture to their visitors all over the world.