Several museums across China announce limited reopening
Updated 22:38, 26-Mar-2020
By Ye Qing

With the improvement of the coronavirus epidemic situation in China, museums and memorial halls are reopening with containment measures.

By March 22, nearly 200 museums in 19 provinces had reopened. In order to ensure the health and safety of visitors and museum staff, the venues also set clear requirements on advance appointments and temperature tests, among others.

Museums reopening

According to the data released by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), the reopening of museums in mid-March was relatively concentrated, most of which are in Sichuan and Shanghai.

Since March 12, many museums in Shanghai have reopened, including Shanghai Museum, Shanghai History Museum, Shanghai Lu Xun Memorial Hall, Shanghai World Exposition Museum, and other municipal museums.

All six major museums in Chengdu have been reopened, including Sichuan Museum, Chengdu Museum, Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum, the Temple of Marquis, and the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu. Measures are take for visitors to avoid close contact, such as keeping each other a meter away while queuing, and keep frequent disinfection in elevators and exhibition halls.

Guangdong Folk Art Museum reopened on March 10. According to local media, it is the first museum in Guangzhou to reopen after the coronavirus outbreak.

Nanjing Library welcomed its first readers after the restoration. Currently, only the second and third floors are open. No other services are available except book lending. Readers are required to make an appointment in advance on the WeChat, with a daily quota of 2,000 people.

Open with limitations

According to Chinanews, most of the museums that have reopened or are about to reopen have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by limiting the number of visitors, temperature-checking at the entrance, and requiring visitors to wear masks.

Shanghai Museum, for example, will implement online real-name booking.

Its statement on the official website said that the Museum will only accept individual appointments, with a daily limit of 2,000 people, and no more than 300 people can enter the museum in the same period. Visitors can make an appointment through the official website and WeChat account three days ahead.

Wear masks during the stay; avoid crowds in line and during visiting; check body temperature at the entrance. Visitors with abnormal temperature, cough, or shortness of breath are not allowed to enter the venues.

Museums in Shanxi Province have sorted out 22 specific requirements to protect cultural relics. The requirements make it clear that experts should be organized to conduct a safety risk assessment of the relevant cultural relics in the exhibition hall, especially the destructive impact of disinfection measures on such organic cultural relics as paintings and calligraphy, and the exhibits can be temporarily postponed or canceled if necessary. At the same time, warehouse management personnel must also strictly follow the relevant operating procedures to minimize direct contact with cultural relics, Chinanews reported. 

In a document released on February 27, the SACH also encouraged museums to take steps such as audio and digital tours to reduce crowds, CCTV reported.

(Cover image made by Li Wenyi)