News & events > Museums step up as vaccination centres
25 Jan 2021

Museums step up as vaccination centres

As reported in The Art Newspaper, some museums in England and Italy worldwide, which are currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions, are doubling up as Covid-19 vaccine centres. Some German vaccination centres are putting on art exhibitions for their patients.

In England, London's Science Museum is expected to open up for vaccinations, as is the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, while the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds has been vaccinating patients since December last year.

In Italy, the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art outside Turin will become the first gallery in the country to be used as a vaccine centre. “Castello di Rivoli will open as a vaccine centre as soon as medical staff have been vaccinated in hospital and old age homes have been vaccinated, likely within the next month,” says a spokeswoman.

The vaccination hub will be located on the third floor of the Savoy royal palace. “Castello di Rivoli’s massive third-floor gallery of over 10,000 square feet provides ample and secure space for a socially distanced waiting room, vaccine booths and a comfortable post-vaccine monitoring area,” says a statement. During the vaccination process, visitors can view a series of murals in the space by Claudia Comte and also listen to a newly commissioned audio piece by the Swiss artist.

And in other news, some German vaccination centres are offering patients an injection of art along with the coronavirus jab.

In the Bavarian town of Straubing, 84 works by 42 local artists are on show in a vaccination facility established in a trade exhibition centre. Patients awaiting their turn to be inoculated against the coronavirus can pass the time studying installations and sculptures in the reception room.

Straubing’s Association of Fine Artists' winter exhibition had to be cancelled after the introduction of more restrictive lockdown measures in December. The president of the association, Erich Gruber said: “We had already installed the artworks", then one of the artists suggested showing the exhibition at the vaccination centre 500 metres away instead. The mayor was open to the proposal and so was the head of the vaccination centre and “We set it all up in one and a half days with help from the fire brigade."

A vaccination centre in Bottrop is also doubling as exhibition space for a show that was planned for the local cultural centre and several other cities are considering following suit, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Gruber says he has received a query from the city of Trier, which is also interested in showing art in vaccination centres.