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The Sistine Chapel The Sistine Chapel  (Vatican Media)

Vatican Museums set to reopen

The Secretary-General of the Vatican City State Governorate, Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, lays out plans for reopening the Vatican Museums.

By Vatican News

The Vatican Museums will soon be reopened to the public, while following the safety guidelines prescribed by Italian and Vatican health officials. They will be accessible only by reservation.

In keeping with the precautionary steps taken by Italian authorities due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Vatican Museums has closed its doors to the public since 9 March. The Museums have only been accessible digitally, free of charge, through virtual tours offered on its website.

In an interview with Vatican News, the Secretary-General of the Vatican City State Governorate, Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, explained that, while virtual tours can be enhanced, “virtual reality can never replace reality.” He said: “Let us not forget that what brings museums alive are people. To enjoy art, you need your eyes and heart.”

Reopening plans

Bishop Vérgez pointed out that, as the date for the reopening of museums in Italy draws near, the Vatican Museums are taking steps to ensure people’s health is protected.

“For the incoming public, we are completing the installation of thermoscanners for temperature readings,” he said.

Bishop Vérgez also explained that entry to the Museums will be by reservation only so that the number of people inside can be managed. He also noted that no large groups will be allowed at this time. Also, visitors to the Museums will be required to wear a facemask.

In preparation for reopening after what Bishop Vérgez refers to as “months of silence,” the Museums have maintained only essential services that required about thirty employees a day.

“A very low percentage,” he adds, “if you consider that the families of employees and collaborators number at almost one thousand people; including custodians, art historians, restorers, administrative staff and the various service companies.”

While we wait

For those who are interested, said the Bishop, the Vatican Museums offer numerous virtual tours on its website. 

The Museums have also an official Instagram page @vaticanmuseums where one work of art from the pontifical collections has been presented daily for the past months.

09 May 2020, 13:00