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Fine art and face masks: London's Victoria and Albert Museum reopens amid COVID-19

Fine art and face masks: London's Victoria and Albert Museum reopens amid COVID-19

Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum gallery assistants pose for members of the media in front of the "Samson Slaying a Philistine" sculpture during preparations to reopen the museum, in London, Britain, Aug 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay)

LONDON: Five thousand years of art and design history will be joined by some more modern items when London's Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum reopens on Thursday (Aug 6) - hand sanitiser dispensers and protective screens.

Mask-wearing visitors will be allowed to tour exhibits on two of the museum's floors, strolling through 250 years of European Renaissance art, a dazzling Islamic Middle East gallery, and five centuries of fashion from around the world.

Museum gallery assistants pose for members of the media in front of the "Monument of Marchese Spinetta Malaspina" during preparations to reopen the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum, in London, Britain, Aug 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay)

Tickets are free but visitors will be allowed in on a booking-only basis after months of coronavirus-enforced closure, marking another step in Britain's tentative economic and cultural reopening.

"We want people to enjoy themselves again after all these months of looking at screens - to go and see an artefact for yourself, to stand in front of an object, that's what's so important," said museum director Tristram Hunt.

A Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum gallery assistant poses for members of the media in front of the Apollo and Zephyr sculptures by Pietro Francavilla during preparations to reopen the museum, in London, Britain, Aug 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay)

"The V&A has been closed for 138 days, the longest period of closure in its history."

The 160-year-old museum, named after Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, has been modified to meet the demands of social distancing regulations designed to prevent the spread of a COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 46,000 people in Britain alone.

A museum technician cleans the V&A Rotunda Chandelier by Dale Chihuly in London, Britain, Aug 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay)

Hand sanitiser dispensers have been dotted around the sprawling, mosaic-floored building. The gift shop and cafe have been equipped with protective screens.

Further sections of the V&A's 11km of galleries will reopen in phases later in the month.

A museum technician cleans the V&A Rotunda Chandelier by Dale Chihuly during preparations to reopen the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum, in London, Britain, Aug 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay)

"What we've all discovered is that it's relatively easy to close, but it's a lot more difficult to reopen," Hunt said.

"We've got the pubs open, we've got the football playing, that's great. But museums, galleries, schools, places where people can nurture their souls is really important."

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Source: Reuters/zl

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