Seychelles prepares the reopening of its National Museum during the COVID-19 pandemic

Signage put in place in the National Museum of Seychelles to promote safe physical distancing and hand sanitizing measures while visiting the museum ©Seychelles National Museum/Beryl Ondiek

Following a lockdown that started on 9 April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Museum in Seychelles is preparing to reopen to the public on 1 June 2020. In doing so, Seychelles will be the first country in the Eastern Africa Region to reopen its museum during the pandemic.

Following ‘Guidance for Workplaces on resuming normal business’ issued by the Seychelles Department of Health, staff of the Seychelles National Museum have spent the last two weeks preparing the museum with preventive measures to protect employees and visitors from the spreading the Coronavirus.

Physical distancing is required within the museum spaces and information on handwashing is provided. Visitors are encouraged to use credit cards instead of cash, our ticketing agents will now work from behind plexiglas shields, and we will require temperature checks for all visitors to the museum.
Ms. Beryl Ondiek, Director of the National Museums of Seychelles

The International Council of Museums has issued guidelines for reopening museums, which contain some basic measures that can be taken to protect the health of both visitors and staff, and are meant to compliment national regulations, which vary depending on the specific evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include tips for preparing for the arrival of the public, adapting the flow of visitors, strengthening health measures, restricting some access if necessary, as well as measures for reception and security staff, cleaning and conservation measures, and guidance for office staff.

UNESCO has been tracking actions taken by museum around the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including efforts to safely re-open to the public. Together UNESCO and ICOM have undertaken global surveys to monitor the impact of the crisis on museums.

Museums can provide a safe place for those who have experienced months of isolation. The reopening of the National Museum in Seychelles will enable it, once again, to serve as a center for education, enjoyment and exchange, and to contribute to the recovery and resilience of Seychelles.
Ms. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa