Coronavirus fears affecting museums' Christmas programs

Rannarootsi Museum.
Rannarootsi Museum. Source: ERR

The Rannarootsi Museum in the western Estonian town of Haapsalu has canceled its annual Christmas land exhibition, due to coronavirus risks. In other museums in the town, programs are still happening, albeit with modifications.

The Rannarootsi Museum's Christmas market and Christmas land, the latter aimed at children, are not going to take place this year. The hour-long Christmas program has previously proved popular among nursery and schoolchildren, but is off this year, the museum's director, Ülo Kalm, said.

Kalm said: "Considering the limited possibilities of our facilities and the fact that we don't have ventilation, we were forced to cancel the Christmas land this year. The program lasts for about an hour, and we can't place children together in our cramped rooms for that amount of time."

Since the number of visitors is smaller in winter, the museum is still open for regular visitors.

Maarja Kõuts, manager of the Ilon's Wonderland (Iloni Imedemaa) museum, also in Haapsalu and named after illustrator Ilon Wikland, says that they plan to arrange several workshops in December, but again due to the coronavirus, implementing precautions is a requirement.

Kõuts said: "This year, we decked out our craft workshop, which is somewhat of a a larger and airier room. We decorated the room to give it a great Christmas mood. We can have families sitting at tables so they are far enough apart, and of course the staff will be wearing masks and gloves as needed. We have divided up craft tools by table, in advance, so that noone has to share scissors or other implements with anyone."

Kõuts said that in addition to this, all participants at the Iloni Imedemaa workshops must be pre-registered.

Anton Pärn, director of the Haapsalu and Läänemaa Museums Foundation, told ERR that over the Christmas period, the general principle for museums is that events with a limited number of participants, but which are safely organized, can still go ahead.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte

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