In the past few weeks, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been dominating international news with its rapid spread. Everyone has a part in keeping themselves and their community as healthy as possible, and that includes museums. So, what is happening with museums? Most places are responding rapidly with plans for closing if things get worse and increased cleaning precautions. Here are some responses across the country and throughout the world.
The Louvre closed its doors on Sunday (3/1) amid concerns from workers that their safety was at risk with the high number of visitors that travel from all over the world. However, the museum reopened on Wednesday (3/4) after the management of the museum, a doctor, and staff representatives worked together to come up with increased precautions to protect workers.
The Italian government drafted laws to close off the Lombardy region, and these laws included the closure of museums, among other public places.
The Chinese government was the first to handle the massive battle with COVID-19, and they took swift action, ordering all museums and art galleries to close on 1/24. These institutions remain closed indefinitely.
On the west coast, there have been cases of increased health safety with staff members opening doors for visitors, rather than having each visitor touch the handles. There has also been one case of a museum shutdown. The San Jose Children’s Discovery Center had a staff member who may have been exposed to the disease, so they closed their doors until the proper testing could be administered to ensure the safety of their other staff members and their visitors.
Today, New York state declared a state of emergency. So far, many museums have increased their cleaning procedures – the Whitney Museum of American Art has had maintenance workers double the number of times they clean doorknobs – but according to ARTnews, no major institutions have closed their doors yet. Instead, they are keeping an eye on the situation in order to respond quickly if necessary.
Each museum will have its own response. Right now, vigilant cleaning procedures will help to mitigate the spread of germs, which is already an important procedure in flu season. Institutions in less affected areas have time to prepare for closures in the future and what that might mean for them.
Position Title: Curator Reports To: Director of Interpretation
FLSA Status: Full Time
Function: The Curator is responsible for the content development, planning, and
implementation of the Fairfield Museum’s exhibitions, as well as overseeing the development of Museum collections.
Exhibitions: In consultation with Museum staff, develop and implement a museum-wide exhibit and interpretive plan.
Plan, research, develop, and implement a regular schedule of changing exhibitions.
Oversee the advance scheduling and implementation of all exhibitions in the museum’s galleries, the 18th century Ogden House, and in historic properties on the Museum Commons (Sun Tavern, Victorian Cottage and Barn).
Conduct research as needed and prepare interpretive content with museum staff and/or outside consultants.
Supervise guest curators, designers and exhibition fabricators; administer contracts, schedules and exhibition budgets.
Design and install exhibitions and/or direct contract staff in design and fabrication.
Work with the Museum’s education staff to develop exhibit-related programming and train docents in presenting programs and tours.
Collections: With the Collections Manager and Librarian, oversee the development and care of the Museum’s collections.
Consult with Board committees and staff on recommendations for acquisitions and deaccessions.
Ensure storage and record keeping is maintained to professional standards.
Make recommendations for acquisitions and deaccessions.
Plan and manage conservation assessments and supervise contract conservators.
Keep up to date on professional standards for collection care and management.
Expertise: Maintain a high level of expertise in museum curatorial, interpretation, and collections management, including a thorough understanding of relevant professional, ethical and legal issues, as well as a strong understanding of regional history and culture.
Outreach: Oversee interpretive collaborations with community organizations, affinity groups, schools, and other constituents. Represent the Fairfield Museum in the community and among professional organizations, and act as a public spokesman for the institution when appropriate.
Teamwork: Work closely with museum staff and Board committees to develop and implement the exhibition schedule, and direct the museum’s curatorial functions. Serve on program and exhibit committees as needed.
Evaluation: Design and oversee exhibition audience assessments that drive program innovation, quality and adaptability.
Development: Assist in grant writing and sponsorship development that support exhibitions and programs.
Performs other activities as required.
Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree preferred.
Demonstrated knowledge and experience in the humanities, arts, and/or cultural sectors.
Three or more years of experience in content development of museum exhibitions, as well as exhibit planning and production.
Highly developed skills in written and verbal communication.
Excellent organizational skills and careful attention to detail.
Project management experience.
Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues, interns, and volunteers.
Creative, flexible and innovative thinker and planner with excellent multi-tasking abilities.
Ability to maintain a high level of poise and professionalism in all circumstances.
This is a full-time position requiring occasional evening and weekend hours. The position will require employee to lift, bend, stoop, walk, speak and stand for up to 7 hours in a day. Competitive salary with a generous benefit package that includes health, disability, dental and life insurance, and employer-sponsored 401K.
Email a cover letter and resume detailing relevant work and educational experience to email@example.com. The Fairfield Museum is an equal opportunity employer.
About the Fairfield Museum:
Fairfield Museum is a thriving cultural center that uses history and the arts to strengthen community and help shape its future. We believe in the power of the arts and the humanities to inspire imagination, stimulate thought, and transform society. Central to our community- focused mission is a commitment to provide a trustworthy environment where multiple perspectives can be heard and collective solutions explored. Fairfield Museum is a vibrant nexus of community life that welcomes more than 35,000 visitors annually. We are a leading and award-winning center for arts and humanities education that provides high-quality school programs to more than 4,000 students each year. Fairfield, CT is a thriving and youthful community of great restaurants, lively music venues, theater and two large universities. It is an hour 1⁄2 away from New York by train and 1⁄2 hour from New Haven, CT.
Despite the fact that the cold of New England lifted this past weekend, we’ve already returned to the more realistic January weather. Unfortunately, this is the time of year that most museums and historic sites start to see a big drop in numbers. The holiday season is over and with little visitation, some institutions need to close for the season or at least cut back on hours. However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel with these dreary days. Here are some exciting things happeningin the area in the next few weeks:
The Institute of Contemporary Art:
Tschabalala Self: Out of Bodyis an upcoming art exhibition that will open on January 20th. This is Tschabalala’s biggest exhibition yet, featuring her “large-scale figurative paintings” that mesh a variety of techniques.
Beyond Midnight: Paul Reverewas organized by the American Antiquarian Society, and itgoes into detail about the life of Paul Revere beyond just the famous ride he is known for. The exhibition will be split between the both museums listed here. It opens at the Concord Museum on February 14th and at the Worcester Art Museum on February 15th.
Museum of Science
Dogs! A Science Tailopens on February 9th. Visitors can investigate why humans and dogs have such a close bond and what it’s like to be in the life of a dog through hands-on activities.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 20th), several Boston cultural institutions are offering free admission. They include: