“Hopefully opening over the weekend” – LiveUnict

The transition from the orange to the yellow zone has allowed Sicilian museums to welcome the public back into their rooms. The resumption of activities, however, does not extend to the whole week. How is it going and what feelings animate the workers in the sector? LiveUnict discussed it with the Culture and Museum Network Service Department of the Municipality of Catania.

For just over a week, those who live in Sicily have been trying to start over, once again. More reassuring bulletins allowed the establishment of the yellow zone which, in turn, led to the reopening of places of culture.

On February 15, the managers of museums, archives, galleries and archaeological areas also opened their doors to the public in Catania, but not without limitations. In fact, the “closed” sign will still be hung on the doors of these sites on holidays: activities are only allowed from Monday to Friday.

LiveUnict asked the Culture Department and Museum Network Service of the Municipality of Catania to take stock of these first few days in the name of the resumption of activities.

Starting again: data and objectives

Over the preceding weeks, numerous voices have expressed their indignation at the decision to seal these environments; as many citizens have expressed the desire to return to enjoy the beauty of a painting or a sculpture. But what do the numbers recorded by the Castello Ursino Civic Museum say after the long-awaited reopening?

“From Monday 15th to Friday 19th they were recorded 49 entrances, including a dozen foreigners – indicates the Culture and Museum Network Service Department -. A very slow restart, but in the absence of tourist flows however, it demonstrates the desire to return to normal“.

Therefore, there would still be few people who have chosen to cross the gates of the site of the Etna capital and to bring this phenomenon back to a single reason would probably be reductive.

It is certain that the outbreak of the pandemic has revolutionized individual priorities and habits: is it worth believing that this has also increased the distance between users and cultural heritage?

“We do not believe that the pandemic could have changed the public’s relationship with art for either better or worse, even if it is desirable that a newfound or new sensitivity towards the beauty of culture, in all its forms, can generate in people a feeling of optimism and hope for the future – specify – .

Of course, the opportunities for using cultural assets online have multiplied, with the consequent increase in the quality of the offer by museums and places of culture, but nothing can replace eye contact and the relationship between the senses and the beauty of works of art“.

Use of cultural assets before and after the pandemic

The truth is that even before February 2020, the recorded numbers looked anything but positive. Suffice it to say that, according to Istat statistics referring to the year 2019 but published at the end of December 2020, the ben 77% of Sicilians aged 6 and over he has never benefited from the activities of the Sicilian cultural heritage. And the National Institute of Statistics examines the 241 museums, galleries, archaeological parks and monumental sites present on the island.

If it is ascertained that behind these percentages there is not only the Coronavirus, it is equally true that the survival of these sites has been severely tested especially in recent months, thanks to the Dpcm and the color system. Would different choices lead to identical results? This is the (legitimate) question that many ask or address to others.

Places of culture have been penalized, like many other realities. There was a inexplicable persistence against Museums and indoor shows, as in the case of theater and cinemas – specify -. Even the generalizations have not helped: perhaps it is complicated to limit the entrances to the Uffizi in Florence or the Vatican Museums, but this is not true for the vast majority of the Civic Museums.

There has not been the same outcry for culture as we have seen in other fields: a controllable turnout and large halls could have prevented such a prolonged closure, almost everywhere – they continue – It certainly does not help, and perhaps it is also illogical, to keep the museums closed on weekends, especially if we think that the shops remain open and that people work on weekdays ”.

The importance of a visit to the museum

The restrictions, however, would not prevent the hope of filling the interiors of Catania’s museums, along with a precious artistic heritage.

“The workers are motivated – they continue – and hope, like all those involved in culture, a resumption of visits with the reopening also on weekends and the possibility of traveling between region and region“.

The health crisis and the rules that mark everyday life have inevitably changed people and, with them, their habits. Yet some still feel the need to buy a ticket and experience, at least for a few hours, a bit of wonder. In this climate of profound uncertainty, these simple gestures can only take on a deeper meaning.

“We hope that people will start to regain possession of their freedom, with the right relationship with the emergency and security measures – conclude – , starting with a visit to the museum, which is a place of culture and beauty, where treasures are kept that have survived the weather of the past and that they can transmit a message of hope and beauty for the future“.