When it comes to museum openings, there is no uniform scenario in the city of Bonn: the institutions will open in a staggered fashion from 9 March until 1 April. The Bundeskunsthalle will be the first to open.
"I'm looking forward to a real audience," admits Stephan Berg, artistic director of the Kunstmuseum Bonn, "and I'm pleased that we've managed to get it into the heads and perhaps the hearts of politicians that museums are safe places." Nevertheless, Berg, who classifies himself as an optimist, admits: "We are all a bit tired and worn down and long to get out of the quicksand and be able to plan reliably again." He himself, he says, is almost weaned on having the live engagement with art in front of an audience. And he only sees his team via Zoom conference.
That will change now. The lockdown for museums has been overcome, at least on paper. According to the Corona Protection Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia, the operation of museums and art exhibitions is now possible with an incidence number of less than 100 with prior booking of appointments and with assured simple traceability as well as with one visitor per 20 square metres. However, depending on the building, implementation is difficult despite existing hygiene concepts. As a result, the reopening of the museums in Bonn after a four-month lockdown is staggered from 9 March to 1 April.
Admission only with annual pass
The Bundeskunsthalle, which will open in two stages, will begin this Tuesday. First, there will be a preview week from 9 to 14 March, during which only holders of an annual ticket to the Bundeskunsthalle will be admitted. They will be able to visit the as yet unopened exhibitions "Hannah Arendt and the 20th Century" and, from 10 March, "Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne - Das Original" in time slots, taking into account the Corona Protection Ordinance, with a specified limited number of people. Each time slot is limited to 60 minutes and one exhibition.
From Tuesday, 16 March, the exhibitions are open to all. Time slot tickets can be booked from 12 March via bonnticket.de. For the Bundeskunsthalle, which is usually used to larger crowds of visitors, the new start is a completely new experience: only 40 visitors are allowed into the Hannah Arendt exhibition every hour, only 16 to Aby Warburg, only 36 to Klinger, calculates press spokesman Sven Bergmann. The bureaucratic effort involved in tracing visitors is limited, he says: "We have the Art Card visitors in our file, the other visitors can leave their personal data with Bonnticket.
The neighbouring Kunstmuseum is not yet one hundred per cent finished with the planning. But Berg expects to be able to reopen on 16 March. The bureaucratic effort is enormous, the director says. Since the time slots have to be booked and the museum is not connected to a ticketing system, everything is done by phone or email. A maximum of 500 people can enter the museum every day. In principle. But since most of them presumably want to see the exhibition of the expressionist Alexej von Jawlensky, planning becomes complicated. In general, Berg welcomes a "differentiated opening scenario", but fears a "yo-yo effect" due to changing incidence figures.
At the Haus der Geschichte Foundation, they plan to decide on Wednesday when to reopen in order to finally present the "Hits & Hymns" exhibition, which has not yet been shown. "We want to open promptly," promises press spokesman Peter Hoffmann, but they are aiming for an "overall compact solution" for the houses in Bonn, Berlin and Leipzig. Then it will be exciting to observe the respective incidence value from day to day.
Dramatic development due to lockdown
On Tuesday, the Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR) will decide when it will open its museums, including the Bonn State Museum, reports press spokeswoman Stephanie Müller. The Women's Museum will start immediately "under restrictions", according to the statement. In the Stadtmuseum Bonn, visitors are welcome again from 18 March, and from 10 March the exhibition "Golden Age" is open again - for nine visitors at a time. It could not be determined when the Beethoven House, Deutsches Museum and Arithmeum will reopen.
The latest lockdown has brought a dramatic development to the August Macke Haus museum, which will not be able to reopen until 1 April, as director Klara Drenker-Nagels explains. Since the former home of August Macke plus the extension is financed solely by the August Macke Haus Foundation of the Sparkasse in Bonn, donations, third-party funds and entrance fees, i.e. it receives neither state nor municipal funding, money became scarce during the lockdown. Drenker-Nagels had to lay off staff (supervisors, cashier, café) or suspend contracts. "Short-time allowances were only paid to the core staff," she says, "now we have to get the rest of the staff together again.
Not unlike her colleagues, the director is watching the chancellor's fortnightly rounds with the prime ministers with bated breath, hoping for 1 April so that she can finally reveal her show on Douglas Swan.
(Original text: Thomas Kliemann; Translation: Mareike Graepel)