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21 May 2020

As communities across Australia and New Zealand begin to gradually emerge from Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions, museums across our nations are planning how they can safely re-open.

The Council of Australasian Museum Directors represents the leaders of Australasia’s major national, state, regional and independent museums. Museums of every kind — covering subjects from natural history to maritime archaeology, from science to art, design and moving image, anthropological, social and a whole range of cultural, social and historical themes — have always been a central part of the cultural life of our nations.

Our museums welcome millions of visitors each year — and many more to our digital platforms — preserving and sharing our stories, and bringing our communities together to discover, debate and delight. We offer a huge variety of different experiences across our diverse museums.

Over the past two months we have all felt how much our shared culture means to us, and the importance of storytelling in our lives. We have found new ways to facilitate this in our isolation through virtual means — and we all are offering rich resources and programs through our digital platforms. But we all yearn to gather together again, and museums across our nation are eager and ready to play a central role in the recovery of our nation and bring our communities back together.

We cannot wait to welcome visitors back into our museums, but we are all committed to work both individually and together to ensure that we are providing a safe environment for our visitors and our staff. As each jurisdiction lifts its restrictions, we know museums — and galleries, across Australasia will re-open at different times, potentially under different alert levels, as appropriate to the nature of their own operations, and the relevant government regulations and guidelines.

While we are all different, there are still core principles we will all be following, to ensure the safety our staff and our visitors of the safety of our museums:

  • Safety and wellbeing are paramount. We will re-open when we are certain we can provide a safe working environment for our staff and a safe visiting environment for our visitors.
  • Information will always be available to our staff and our visitors to help people stay safe.
  • Facilities will be closely maintained and monitored. This will include a revision of hygiene protocols, such as increased cleaning and disinfecting, handwashing facilities, hand sanitiser, distancing protocols et cetera.
  • We will adhere to Federal, State and Territory government rules and guidelines, such as limits on the size of gatherings, restrictions on travel and implementation of contact tracing. This will vary between states and territories at any given time.

The re-opening of Australia’s and New Zealand’s museums will be an important step in the resumption of public life in coming days, weeks and months. We look forward to welcoming people back into our museums to experience all the wonderful things we have to offer, in a way that keeps us all safe and strong. In the meantime, we will continue to offer our rich content digitally through our websites and social media.

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