March 11, 2020 was a difficult day for the museum community in Madrid, as it was decided that closing was the most responsible way to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus. A few days before it looked like the control on the number of visitors would have been sufficient, but due to events unfolding quickly, a tougher measure had to be put in place, sometimes determined by the government, sometimes by those in charge of the private museum or foundation.
Therefore, they have decided that they will still be working behind closed doors and are letting their visitors know that they are still working and that they can be reached through their online platforms—their web pages, Facebook, Instagram. An example is the Prado Museum; they have a 10-minute video on Instagram every weekday showing parts of the collection, but from today they last an hour, and the director was the first guest. Unfortunately, not all museums have the same resources. However, museums want and need to continue to be part of what is occurring and if they can help to mitigate our uneasy situation, they are very welcome.
But besides the visitors, we have to think of the workers whose future is up in the air; not all have permanent contracts and this could have a serious economic impact, as it is already happening in other industries. Still is better to be safe than sorry, and other museums, in New York, for example, are also closing. It might seem harsh, but seeing what is happening in Europe it is best to be swift these decisions.
Being an online museum, Girl Museum is always there to be enjoyed, however, we have to also make sure that our staff does not become sick as we go about our daily lives.
Let’s hope the situation ends as quickly as it started and that we can come back even stronger, with a lot more to tell and share with everyone.
-Alicia Garcia Pajares
Girl Museum Inc.