Study finds museums are Covid-safe

As museums worldwide are seeking new business models to stay afloat after the pandemic’s pushbacks, this promising study seems to herald a nearer reopening.

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Galleria Continua, San Giminiano, Italy, 2020

Museums and cultural spaces were among Covid’s most vulnerable victims and their already precarious sustenance has been severely tested by several months-long closures. Yet, such measures may have been proved overly tight.

A new study by the Berlin Institute of Technology conducted a comparative evaluation of indoor environments to assess the risk of Covid-19 infection via aerosol particles. Considering the average length of stay in a public space, the quality of the airflow, and the type of activities performed, it turned out that the risk of transmission is far lower in museums than in supermarkets, restaurants, offices, or public transports.

If cultural sites like exhibition spaces, theatres, and cinemas are kept at 30% capacity with visitors wearing masks and maintaining a 2m distance, these spaces are safer than any other indoor activity, the research assessed.

Such news might well be comforting even for the giants of the sector, as in the case of the Louvre museum – one of the world's most visited in normal times. Paris’ super-museum, in fact, is among the many structures moving towards new business models and currently finding most of their revenue in merchandising, collaborations, and licensing rather than entrance tickets.

Opening image: Michelangelo Pistoletto at Galleria Continua, San Giminiano, Italy, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua. Photo Ela Bialkowska, OKNO studio

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