Old Masters exhibition closes for 6 months due to staff shortages

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB) has decided to close the section of its museum in which work by the Old Masters is on display. The decision has come about due to a shortage of security staff at the museum. for at least 6 months. The exhibition contains work by great artists such as Rubens and Rembrandt.

 

Although the museum claimed that the closure is due to the coronavirus crisis, VRT News has discovered that issues with security staffing levels are the real reason for the closure. Several security staff that have retired have not been replaced, while other staff have not had their contacts renewed. 

The RMFAB Spokesman Samir Al-Haddad told journalists that "We would prefer for everything to be open. But we are under the (staffing) limit that would allow us to open all our collections to the public. This means that like in other large cultural institutions the parts of the collection that are on display will alternate”.  

Mr Al-Haddad added that since 2011 funding to federal cultural institutions has been cut. Since 2019 the number of staff at the RMFAB as fallen by 35.

Due the need to enforce the measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus the museum has needed to deploy more staff, staff that it simply doesn’t have. “We are currently 19 security staff short”, Mr Al-Haddad said. 

He added that he hopes that the Minister responsible for the federal cultural institutions Thomas Dermine (Francophone socialist) will approve the museum’s staffing plan and that funds will be made available to take on extra staff so that all the museum’s collection can be open to the public again from October.

 

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