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Art institutions visited by the public: Bonn's Museum Mile reopens

Art institutions visited by the public : Bonn's Museum Mile reopens

More and more museums in Bonn have been opening up their doors from the weekend. Strict hygiene rules are in place and visiting hours are limited, but tests or proof of vaccination are no longer required. The GA spoke to the museums - and to the visitors.

The long months of strict lockdown are over. Bonn residents are finally allowed to visit museums again. "I am so happy about this. And also that we can come without needing a corona test," says Hannelore Weigelt, visitor to the Bundeskunsthalle (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany).

The Bundeskunsthalle reopened on 23 May, and spokesperson Sven Bergmann is also pleased about the return of visitors. “The mood is very positive, once again you can feel who you are working for: the visitors”. They no longer need to provide a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination, but they do have to book a one-hour time slot for the respective exhibition. All visitors interviewed expressed their understanding.

Distancing rules and mandatory masks still apply

Museum visitors also still have to abide by the familiar rules. "The distancing rules still have to be observed and masks have to be worn," Bergmann emphasises. Visitor Hannelore Bischof thinks this is a good thing: "It's important that we all have a mask on and don't touch anything, but look with our eyes," she stresses. Another rule: Only one person per 20 square metres of space. Overall, the number of visitors therefore currently fluctuates between 30 and 60 per exhibition, says Bergmann. “Before the pandemic, of course, the numbers were much higher”. Since the reopening, many time slots are now fully booked, often even entire days.

There was understanding for the long closure, "because of course you have to show solidarity with society as a whole," Bergmann says. Nevertheless, the "sophisticated hygiene concept and the large rooms in the museum provide a safe place". Hannelore Weigelt sees the latter in the same way, which is why she found the long closure of the museums unnecessary. “After all, there are only interested visitors here, no group gatherings. With a limited number of visitors, you can open permanently,” she thinks. However, most other visitors could understand the closure due to high incidence rates.

Visitors to the Bundeskunsthalle can currently view the exhibitions ‘Hannah Arendt and the 20th Century’, ‘Aby Warburg: Mnemosyme Atlas - The Original’ and ‘Dresscode. Are You Playing Fashion?’

Loss of revenue at the Kunstmuseum

While the state-run Bundeskunsthalle is financed by public authorities and therefore did not suffer particularly badly from the pandemic in monetary terms, the Kunstmuseum fared differently: "We have had significant revenue losses," says spokesperson Kristina Thrien. Although it was possible to "reduce expenditure in areas such as surveillance, the bottom line is of course still a large deficit". The museum, which reopened on Saturday, is municipal, which is why, according to Thrien, the aid payments do not benefit the museum but go directly into the city coffers. This is not the only reason why she is now very much looking forward to the reopening.

She could not really understand the long closure either. "Considering that we already per se meet all the requirements for a pandemic-conform visit due to our large rooms, the distancing and safety rules and the air-conditioning of our building, there is honestly limited understanding for this long total lockdown," says Thrien.

But now the museum is open again and presenting a ‘Sound and Silence’ exhibition until 5 September, which focuses on the sound of silence in contemporary art. In addition, there is an exhibition for children and young people by Frank Bölter called ‘Ultra all inclusive’ and, from 3 June, ‘The Phantom of Painting’ by Walter Swennen.

The numerous visitors to the history museum Haus der Geschichte were also delighted with the reopening. "This is wonderful, I've been waiting for this for a long time," Eberhardt Borghoff tells us. A maximum of 30 people are allowed into the ‘Hits and Hymns’ exhibition at the same time, and 200 to the permanent exhibition. "We admit 30 to 100 people every hour on the hour, and visitors can then stay in the museum for up to two hours," explains spokesperson Peter Hoffmann. Visitor Eberhardt Borghoff finds the hygiene rules “strict, but okay. You have to accept it.” For Friedrich Bernitzki, on the other hand, it makes “a super impression. It's great that all this is possible again,” he says.

The prerequisite for all this is, of course, that the 7-day incidence rate in Bonn does not rise above 100 again. On Sunday the incidence rate in Bonn was 71.3.

(Original text: Marco Rauch, Translation: Caroline Kusch)