On Tuesday, contemporary art museums across Istanbul opened their doors to art lovers once more amid an ongoing easing of restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Pera Museum, Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum and Arter are just some of the city's contemporary art venues to reopen with measures to protect against the coronavirus after being closed for nearly three months. Visitors will have their body temperatures tested upon arrival, their hands disinfected and will only be permitted entry if wearing masks as part of new safety regulations.
Meanwhile, state-owned museums and archeological sites across Turkey have been open since June 1, when the country first began easing lockdown measures with new safety measures in place.
Istanbul Modern, Turkey's first museum of modern and contemporary art, was temporarily closed to visitors on March 17. The building is now being regularly sanitized by professional teams to ensure protection against the virus. Visits to the museum can be arranged through online reservations on their website or by purchasing tickets by credit card upon entry.
"To offer you a safer and more comfortable museum experience, we have introduced an online reservation system that enables you to reserve a specific time slot for your visit," the museum said on its website.
To ensure safe social distancing, the museum is limiting the number of visitors allowed inside at any one time to 70, the Modern said in a statement, adding: "Please take note of signs on every floor indicating the maximum number of visitors allowed at one time."
All training and activities, including guided group tours and movie screenings, at Istanbul Modern Cinema will continue online. Two collector exhibitions, "Guests: Artists and Craftspeople" and "Lütfi Özkök: Portraits," are currently on display. Museum director Levent Çalıkoğlu told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the museum had uploaded new content to their digital platforms throughout their time closed due to anti-virus measures.
"We are changing our collection as of next week. Visitors will be able to see our new collection exhibition on the second and third floors of the museum," he said, noting that art institutions across the world would continue to host visitors in both the physical realm and online.
Sakıp Sabancı Museum's "Books and Calligraphy," "Furniture and Decorative Arts" and "Painting" collections, as well as its lush garden, will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Mondays, with measures taken to protect the health and safety of our staff and visitors," it said on its website. The museum is limiting the number of visitors it will allow at the same time to 200, with the gallery section of the museum remaining closed until further notice.
Pera Museum also reopened its doors Tuesday. "We are ready to receive you at our museum, with all the hygiene and social distancing measures required for your health having been taken," the museum said in a statement on its website.
The museum reopened with new visiting hours between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Thermal cameras have been installed at the museum's entrance to measure visitors' body temperatures and automatically alert those failing to abide by mask regulations.
The museum, which put on digital exhibitions and published material online throughout the closure period, will continue to make film screenings and panel discussions available online. In the first phase of its reopening, the museum will allow only 45 visitors at one time, with only two of its floors open for visitors. When all of its floors are opened, the museum will be able to host around 90 people at a time.
Istanbul's contemporary arts hub, Arter, will allow up to 200 visitors at a time. The center will be open between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday until further notice. Arter will organize guided tours with a limited number of participants. The center has postponed all concerts and performances scheduled in its activity program until further notice.
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