By Sarah Marshall
During times of difficulty, arts and culture can help us make sense of a confused reality, offering refreshing perspectives and sharing lessons from the past. There’s something reassuringly therapeutic about exploring a gallery, even if you’re clueless about the works on display; for a few hours, it’s possible to get lost in another world.
While physical visits are temporarily off-limits, there’s still a chance to peruse permanent collections and temporary exhibitions from the safety of your home.
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, USA
So many of the world’s greatest museums are housed within buildings as beautiful as the art they display. Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, New York’s premier arts institution, The Met, has published a series of 360- degree videos offering visitors unique views and access to areas they might otherwise miss.
Explore the neoclassical grandeur of The Great Hall, admire fragments of the Nubian Temple of Dendur set around a shimmering pool in The Sackler Wing, and discover The Met Cloisters, an enchanting branch of the museum located in northern Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River, with a focus on medieval European art.
British Museum, London, UK
Had you snuck into this grand dame museum at the beginning of lockdown, you’d probably still be making your way around displays.
As part of their online The Museum Of The World project, navigate key pieces via a nifty interactive grid, divided by geographical continent and historic period and connected by surprising, hidden links.
Canadian Museum For Human Rights, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we can draw from this global pandemic is the value of kindness and respect shared between strangers.
The world’s only museum dedicated to global human rights features stories, exhibits and tools to inspire and educate future activists. Download their app to tour two current exhibitions.
Visit humanrights.ca. App available at the AppStore or GooglePlay.
Museum Of Broken Relationships, LA, USA, and Zagreb, Croatia
Proof not all museums and galleries revolve around lofty, academic discourse and jaw-droppingly expensive exhibits, this ever-evolving, crowd-sourced collection features everyday items donated by members of the public.
Although it has permanent galleries in LA and Zagreb, from the outset, the museum was built with a virtual space in mind; users can time-lock painful memories in a vault or share their own bust-up stories and images online.
Natural History Museum, London, UK
Right now, it feels like humanity is at the centre of the universe; in reality, we’re dwarfed by the magnificence of our natural world. Nowhere is that story better told than the Natural History Museum, where inhabitants of land, sea, air – and even space – have starring roles.
There’s the chance to zoom in on cabinets of beetles and flick through images on display in the popular Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition.
Good clean fun? Holidays reinvented for the coronavirus age
By Sarah Young
No more feasting from the hotel buffet, showing off your tan under the disco lights or impromptu dips in the swimming pool – holidaying during the coronavirus pandemic will be a more sanitised affair.
Across Europe, Covid-19 has grounded aircraft and shut hotels, and with travel restrictions still in place, British government ministers have warned UK holidaymakers not to expect to be able to make trips abroad this summer.
But Germany-headquartered TUI, with 27 million customers last year, said holidays would still be possible and it was gearing up for a July restart with new safety measures which amounted to a “reinvention of the holiday”.
As part of the hygiene ramp-up the world’s biggest tourism company said holidaymakers will no longer be able to pile their plates full of food from the buffet as it was scrapping self-service restaurants, night clubs and saunas.
Holidaymakers will be expected to keep to social distancing of between 1.5 to 2 metres, meaning fewer tables in the restaurant and group sports such as soccer will be replaced by others such as tennis.
Customers will begin their holidays with temperature checks at airports, face masks on board less crowded flights, and more transfer buses.
At TUI hotels, of which there are 411, there will be more deep cleaning and hand-santiser points.
Test runs of the new measures had already taken place in its hotels in Mallorca, Spain, TUI boss Fritz Joussen said, giving him confidence that they can work.
Some TUI hotels based in Germany will become the first to reopen in the coming days.
Holidays to Europe’s more traditional beach destinations will come back in the coming months, Joussen said, adding that TUI was in talks with governments over restarting its activities.
“The main candidates are the Balearics, the Canaries, Greece Cyprus, but also Croatia and Bulgaria,” he said.
“Areas, where actually, the infections are low and areas where tourism can be saved and areas where tourism is a very important driver of economic prosperity.”
On its cruise ships, one of the fastest growing parts of TUI’s business, customers will have to fill in health questionnaires and be screened before boarding.
Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned every 30 minutes and there will also be Covid-19 testing devices onboard, but no self-service restaurants that cruise ships are famed for and strict limits on numbers allowed in theatres, spas and gyms.
Ships will be welcoming guests “as soon as possible”, Joussen told reporters. TUI would start offering cruises of three to five days on the North Sea departing from north German ports. Guest numbers would be restricted to 1,000 people at first, on ships which can hold as many as 2,900.
The European Commission also outlined sweeping measures on Wednesday aimed at reviving the struggling tourism and airline industries brought to a halt by the coronavirus.
Tourism accounts for almost 10 per cent of the EU’s GDP, with some 267 million Europeans, or two thirds of the population, making at least one trip per year, it said.