Photo: Adil Boukind The Duty
At the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, arrows and dots indicate, every two meters, where rest the feet and where to wait.
The museums re-open, but at what price !
An example : the Museum of contemporary art will re-launch its activities at Saint-Jean in allowing only a maximum of 75 visitors at the same time in its rooms. At maximum capacity, in the world précovidien, the building in the center of the city of Montreal could receive approximately 1000 people at the same time.
The museum sector comes out weakened by the crisis, as well as many others. And nothing guarantees that he will regain quickly his forces.
The loss of school visits and individual entries of the last months combined with the cancellation of special events such as the drying up of the patronage had already accumulated around $ 20 million to 108 institutions between march 15 and June 1, according to the estimates of the Société des musées québécois (SMQ).
“Imagine, for more than 400 museums, said Stéphane Chagnon, executive director of the Company. It goes above the 25 or 30 million. And from the moment when a museum opens, 10, 15 or 20 June, guaranteed that it opens at a loss. The sanitary measures imposed do not allow that to host a fraction of the normal public and prohibit the the event of financing. “
It is said that 5% to 10% of these collections are exhibited, then open up the reserves, and find new angles of interpretation. There is an opportunity here not to be missed.
— Stéphane Chagnon
Long live the national collections !
There are about 400 museums in Quebec, including a strong majority of very small schools. The QMS, which represents, employs nine people remained at home for three months to support the sector, documenting the impact of the crisis, relaying information on the emergency measures, organize forums for discussions and support, transfer the online training and now facilitate the resumption of activities.
The disappearance of the clientele, foreign tourism adds to the disaster. A study of the Society extended over two summers showed that in July, August and September, the tourist customers in Quebec and outside the province have a total of about 70% of visitors of a sixty museums among the most visited in Quebec.
The air transport also stops for the works. The great museums, accustomed for decades to borrow abroad, sometimes of complete exhibitions, are going to have to fold more on their own collections.
“Why we would not encourage more lending between museums in Quebec ? request the director-general. Why not rediscover our permanent collections ? It is said that 5% to 10% of these collections are exhibited, then open up the reserves, and find new angles of interpretation. There is an opportunity here not to be missed. “
Another survey of the QMS has revealed that around 60 % of a hundred institutions have been layoffs. The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec thanked his contract. They were able to benefit from government measures to maintain a portion of their income and remain in reserve to hire once the crisis has passed. “But is this what we are going to regain all the jobs lost in museology ? I highly doubt it, ” said Mr. Chagnon. The frame rate will not be the same as before. We enter into a new normality. “
The director general added that the crisis affected all the components of the sector, SMES consultation in design of exhibition, for example. The next survey of the QMS will seek to document the specific impacts on professionals and firms in museology, some of whom have lost contracts abroad.
Cheers to the visitors ‘ solos !
The QMS has reacted very quickly to prepare for this new and abnormal. “If the museums were the first institutions of the cultural sector to be able to reopen, it is that we have been the first to file concrete proposals to do so,” says d. g.
The early intervention plans have been sent to the ministry of Culture, around the 20th of April. “It was immediately understood that without the implementation of strict sanitary measures, there was no salvation for the sector. “
He added that the visits to the individual (opposed to group ones) were already three-quarters of the approximately 15 million admissions a year in the museums of quebec. Public Health has therefore recognised that it was possible to control and make safe the behavior of these visitors, so to say, taken one at a time on marked trails. There are still many other issues to resolve, including the use and cleaning of audio guides such as the interactive elements now widely used in museology.
The constraints forbidding the manipulation affects especially science museums, which represent 35% of the sector compared to 20 % for art museums and 45 % for those devoted to history or archaeology.
“The experience is altered,” said Mr. Chagnon. We are returning to a museography contemplative, focused on the object, the artifact, the specimen, as there are 25 or 30 years. For months or years, it will therefore be necessary to review the courses and their activities or find relief such as the use of pens disposable on the screens. “
The QMS is asking for help to reorganize the rooms, to launch an awareness campaign visits or to compensate the losses. The department could improve the support to operations for expenses related to the protection of the health and there would also be opportunity to participate in the competition for the production and dissemination of digital material.
The great scan
The Société des musées québécois proposes to take advantage of the crisis and of the slowdown of activities to launch a huge project of digitisation of national collections. “There are few programs in place to digitize the museum collections, said the director of the Company, Stéphane Chagnon. Often, we look for “the wow effect” with interactivity. But if you want to put online the collections, it is necessary to start with the scan. “The particular armored lack, but the director estimates that fewer than 20 %, maybe even less than 15% of national collections are digitised.
“It is a work that must continue,” he said. If we can no longer work on blockbusters, why not make it accessible online, a maximum of national works and permanent collections here ? The digital, this is not an end in itself, it is a way. “The QMS, which offers training to its members for four decades, took advantage of the crisis to switch to distance learning.
The new MACM 2024
The renovation project of the Museum of contemporary art of Montreal (MACM) will be, assures its director. John Zeppetelli anticipates that its facility will stay in operation in the city centre yet a year and close in the fall of 2021 to make way for the construction which should extend at least for two years. The new MUSEUM would thus be inaugurated somewhere around 2024. A first plan for renovation and expansion was accepted and then rejected two years ago because of cost overruns anticipated, in part due to the overheating of the construction market in Montreal. “We have been lobbying for a year and a half,” says the director. Quebec has allocated $ 18 million on April 15, in the midst of a crisis pandemic. The MACM roaming is not yet known where he will settle, temporarily, or, of course, if the obligations of social distancing will be maintained in this temporary rental.