11 May 2020 Gulbenkian Museum

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum reopens on International Museum Day

The Founder’s Collection reopens on the 18th of May with a commemorative online programme that includes music, dance, performances, testimonies, virtual tours and debates with artists and curators of national and international museums.

The International Museum Day will be a reason for a double celebration this year because of the reopening of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. In accordance with social distancing rules necessary to avoid the spread of the pandemic, there will be a limited number of visitors for both the Founder’s Collection and the temporary exhibition The Golden Age of French Furniture. The Modern Collection will remain closed due to the works that are taking place, which will connect the building of the Modern Collection to the new Gulbenkian Garden.

The commemoration programme will begin on Saturday, the 16 May, at 11:00, with the opening of a virtual exhibition, comprising 50 works chosen by the public after the social media challenge Curator for a day. On Sunday, 17 May, at 11:00, a Persian short story – The Lion and the Hare – will be read in Farsi and Portuguese from a book belonging to the Islamic collection of Calouste Gulbenkian.

On the 18th, the International Museum Day, at 11:00, Penelope Curtis, the director of the Gulbenkian Museum, will welcome all online visitors and take them on a live virtual tour through the galleries of the Museum.

After 11:30 and for the rest of the day, short video statements will be online at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Instagram with suggestions of works to let the sun in. This is the result of a challenge made to some of the professionals who are responsible for the daily maintenance of the Museum and that handle directly with the works. They will be choosing works that can light up our days in these uncertain times.

The curator Jessica Hallett will also begin a cycle of conversations which will bring together artists, people in charge with the museum and other guests. At 11:30 she will be with Diana Pereira, Farhad Kazemi and Shahd Wadi, who are involved in the project The Power of Words – an initiative that aims to study museums as spaces that potentiate multiple readings, gathering local communities to investigate works of art from the Middle East. This conversation, entitled “How many voices does a museum have?”, will be held in English.

At 15:00, Penelope Curtis will be joining Manuel Fontán del Junco (director of Fundación Juan March, Spain) and Katarina Pierre (director of Bildmuseet at Umeå University, Sweden) to answer the question: What now after doors reopen? In a debate moderated by Maria Vlachou (Acesso Cultura) they will discuss the challenges that museums face and present their proposals for the future. The debate will be in English.

At 18:00, the artists Ângela Ferreira, Hugo Canoilas and Horácio Frutuoso, along with the curator Rita Fabiana, will be having a panel discussion on the theme “Certain and uncertain times: what museum in times of uncertainty?”.

Throughout the day, there will be presentations of music, dance and performances recorded at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The program ends with an after-hour tour through the galleries of the Museum, at 21:30, with the curators João Carvalho Dias and Ana Vasconcelos.