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Hospital in the Rock – Open again after 95 days

On the 18th of June 2020 the Hospital in the Rock opened again.

After the withdrawal of the emergency, the museum introduced all the necessary protective measures and opened its doors to the public immediately.
What has happened to us in the last three months?

In mid-March, museums, including the Rock Hospital, closed along with theaters, cinemas, and libraries. The otherwise bustling space was suddenly emptied, the atmosphere was as devastating as the sight of silent schools or abandoned playgrounds. Another twist in the story is that since it is not a state or municipal institution, the financial resources needed for maintenance have also run out overnight. Nevertheless, the staff continued to work.

What can a closed museum do?

First and foremost, we kept in touch with the public online: it was an uplifting experience, as at the beginning of the #stayathome campaign, even before the curfew was introduced, museums around the world moved to the online space to help people break out a little of their troubled everyday lives. The material collection of the Rock Hospital could already be browsed on the Museum Digitár page before the lockdown.

Of course, an object alone is just one object, it’s the story associated with it which makes it really exciting. That is why a separate series on the museum’s Facebook page has been launched in order to present them thoroughly. In addition, our “Archive Post” section continued with posts appearing much more frequently. In these posts we share exciting details of the history of the hospital – the superhuman work of the doctors and nurses working here, their personal lives, and the details of healing during war. The development of online content has been going on ever since: we are making videos and e-learning materials, and we are also planning to create a virtual exhibition. We have also joined the Museums’ Night Online campaign, contact us there too!

COVID-19 memories

Communication with the audience was two-way: while sharing content, we were also receiving the personal stories of our readers. The mission of the Hospital in the Rock is to present healing and assistance in emergencies, which is also true for the present situation. The museum has therefore launched a collection to create an archive that will preserve the experience of the coronavirus epidemic for the future: it presents the responses to the emergency, different means of protection, and it also shows the individual, personal side of this global pandemic. We received a series of touching photos of molinos calling for perseverance, of distant birthday greetings of older relatives, and of masked sculptures. There were some people, who shared with us the experience of the testing procedure, and we even received a poem. We continue to look forward to these offerings, as any personal story can be an important part of the big, shared picture.

We were preparing for the reopening from the beginning of June, to create the conditions for a safe visit

Plexiglass sheets around the ticket offices, hand sanitizers in the foyer of the museum and non-contact taps were built in, and of course, the handles and washbasins are cleaned continuously. The biggest challenge is the guided tour: for security reasons, the exhibition cannot be visited individually – it’s really terribly easy to get lost, not to mention the wires and surprise doorsteps peeking out all around. We can ensure the safe distance by starting groups with a smaller number of people than usual, maximizing the number of participants in 10 people per group for the time being. The 50-person screening room also accommodates fewer people at a time, so the chairs can fit comfortably, they can be pulled apart properly. The guides start the tour in a plexiglass face shield, and we also made masks with the museum’s logo.

As part of our opening campaign, we are participating in the Hungarian Tourism Agency’s “We are back!” campaign, in the framework of which all school-age children will receive a surprise gift until July 15! We look forward to seeing you all!

Photo: Hospital in the Rock

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