A group of museums in Switzerland has demanded the government to end lockdown and allow opening art institutions soon.
A group of museum and exhibition venues in Basel, Switzerland has written an open letter to the government, urging them to allow the re-opening of all art institutions. They are also supported by the Conference of Museum Directors, an independent body comprised of the directors of five state museums. The letter was signed by 18 directors and sent on Wednesday. Some of the signees included Elena of Kunsthalle Basel, Sam Keller of the Fondation Beyeler and Heidi Naef of the Schaulager.
The letter argued that museums were necessary for the mental well-being of the people, especially in these anxious times. It also talked about the health precautions museums have been following since May 2020 and which have proven to be effective. As such, the letter claimed, the opening of individual museums and exhibition venues do not pose any serious threat of spreading the virus. When the audience is made up of local people, the social movement is also limited. The letter also said that museums do not only deal with history but are also important in reflection on the present and while thinking about new crises.
A new wave of coronavirus has swept across Europe recently, prompting the governments to enforce stricter measures. This has caused cultural venues, including museums and galleries, to be closed again in most countries. However, the letter from the museum directors in Switzerland is the first such move in any country thus far. In Switzerland, there was a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases this month which forced the Swiss government to close down all recreational spaces. A referendum in on the way that may decide to end the lockdown by June.