The world has been changed by the outbreak of COVID-19, not only on a personal level but also professionally for museums of all sizes and styles. Virtually overnight, museums were tasked with determining how to keep their audience engaged while both the museum staff and their followers were sheltered at home. We at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum have worked hard to bring our social media audience a variety of content during this time. In addition to pretty photos to distract, we have created activities which can be completed from home with family members. Now, as the world begins to reopen, we are looking to the future and planning what needs to be done to ensure the safety of our guests as well as our staff.
It can be daunting when considering the steps which might need to be taken to prepare for reopening a museum. The museum community throughout the world has gathered together to brainstorm best practices, while following local and national government guidelines. The majority of the actions required to reopen our museum on June 1 are those which were set in motion from the very beginning of the outbreak. These include social distancing, wearing personal protection equipment (masks and gloves), washing hands well and often, and regularly sanitizing frequently used surfaces. We will also have hand-sanitizer stations available and our guests will be required to wear masks, as well. This is to protect everyone – staff and guests alike! One thing is for certain, in a phrase repeated in museums all over the world, “The museum we closed will not be the museum we reopen.” But, rest assured, it will be as safe and healthy as possible.