South Africa: Times of Struggle - How Can Museums Survive the Pandemic


What happens when artworks and sculptures presented in museums and galleries around the continent have no one but the institution's staff to look at them?

On Monday 4 May Jeff Jacoby from the Boston Globe sent out a newsletter titled "Vindication for the Berkshire Museum". The article described how, back in 2017, the Berkshire Museum, an art institution founded in 1903 in Western Massachusetts in the US that boasts "artifacts of ancient history and natural science", including a 143-pound meteorite and an Egyptian mummy, as well as paintings by American and international artists, decided to put up for sale "40 pieces of art from its collection -- including two paintings by Norman Rockwell".

The process, called "deaccession", was meant to raise funds for the financially struggling museum, but the decision unleashed considerable backlash.

Fast-forward to 2020 and the mood is entirely different. As the pandemic continues to threaten populations around the world, museums and galleries have been forced to shut their doors, leaving many in a vulnerable financial position.

The state of affairs

Nadia Refsi, of the Musée du Louvre (Paris, France) press and communication service, explains that, "On Friday 13 March 2020 the Musée du Louvre, Musée National Eugène-Delacroix...

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