Australia’s much-loved arts sector has not been immune to the coronavirus pandemic. Our galleries, museums and libraries across Australia closed doors to the public months ago, leaving a void for many individuals.
In NSW, the Art Gallery of NSW has been closed for only the second time in 100 years, both for global health reasons. In 1919, the gallery shut its door to protect people from the Spanish Flu, demonstrating an eery similarity to COVID-19, despite the century of time passed1. The challenges faced by curators and directors during this pandemic have been huge. How are art assets protected by a virus when its potency on inanimate objects remains largely unknown? Coupled with already severe handling and cleaning restrictions, how have gallery and museum staff handled the precious assets, many of which hold historical significance?
As restrictions eased, art galleries, libraries and museums in NSW prepared to re-open on June 1st, news that was welcomed across the sector and by the public. However, these cherished places look a little different post-COVID2. There will be no major exhibitions held in art galleries for the foreseeable future, strict social distancing rules may impact on the numbers of those inside perhaps leading to queues outdoors, and returned books will face quarantine periods of 24 hours before being placed back on the shelves.
Let us know if your post #shutdown plans include returning to a gallery to gaze at a Dali or McCubbin, or going to your local library to delve back into fiction by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
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2 Sourced: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/