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Art institutions around the world responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing their doors and rethinking planned exhibitions, programming, and partnerships. Now, a few months into the crisis, museums are beginning to reopen, but they are also reevaluating what the next few years might bring and how they might continue to work collaboratively.

The pandemic hit just as the Getty was beginning to partner with museums in Mumbai, Mexico City, Shanghai, and Berlin on its Ancient Worlds Now initiative, a ten-year project dedicated to the study, presentation, and conservation of the world’s ancient cultures.

In this episode, Neil MacGregor, former director of the British Museum, joins Yang Zhigang, director of the Shanghai Museum, and Andreas Scholl, director of the Altes Museum, Antikensaammlung, Collection of Classical Antiquities, in Berlin. They discuss their responses to COVID-19 and their hopes for the future of the Ancient Worlds Now initiative.


JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, President of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
YANG ZHIGANG: . The pandemic tells us we are far more closely connected than we thought before. We may be different in many ways, but we are one humankind.
CUNO: In this episode, I speak with two international art museum directors, Yang Zhigang in Shanghai and Andreas Scholl in Berlin, about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their museums and their plans for the future.
Neil MacGregor, former Director of the British Museum, and I first thought we’d meet with the directors of prominent ancient art collections in Mumbai, Mexico City, Shanghai, and Berlin as part of the Getty’s Ancient Worlds Now initiative, a ten-year, multifaceted project dedicated to the study, presentation, and conservation of the world’s ancient cultures. Our idea was to talk with the directors of those museums about the project, how their museums will be a part of it, and what stories they’d like to tell by sharing works from their collections with each other’s museums.
But then, COVID-19 entered our lives and the museums shut down and remained closed for months, dimming the prospects for our initiative. But soon enough, first Shanghai then Berlin reopened, and so Neil and I thought it would be a perfect time to talk with their directors about their experiences with COVID-19, how it affected their museums and their publics, and what it means for the Ancient Worlds Now initiative now that their museums have reopened.
In an earlier podcast episode, Neil and I spoke with two other partners in this project, museum directors in Mumbai and Mexico City. In this episode, we’ll hear first from Dr. Yang Zhigang in Shanghai. Then midway through the episode, you’ll hear our conversation with Dr. Andreas Scholl in Berlin.
Dr. Yang Zhigang is director of the Shanghai Museum. Neil MacGregor and I spoke with him on June 29.
CUNO: So let me begin with Neil. And Neil, give us a sense of your vision for the Museum Collections Sharing project and its role within the Getty’s Ancient Worlds Now initiative.
NEIL MACGREGOR: Thank you, Jim. Well, the idea of the museum exchange project came out of your arguments over years, that all of us share the past, that antiquity belongs to everybody. And with five partner museums—Shanghai, Mumbai, Mexico City, the British Museum, and the Berlin Museums—the idea is that we shall be able to see in more places in the world, a truly global story of humanity.
And Shanghai, Mumbai, and Mexico City all have very strong collections of their own cultures. And with loans, long-term loans from other cultures, from the other partners, it will be possible for them to present the stories they want of a global narrative, but also to present their own histories—Chinese, Indian, or Mexican—in a global context. And that’s the purpose of the project, to allow different histories of the whole world to be told in more museums.
CUNO: Now, on an earlier podcast episode, you and I spoke with the directors of the Mumbai and Mexico City antiquities museums, which were closed at the time. And they’re still closed. What was the outcome of those conversations?
MACGREGOR: It was very striking talking to those two. Mexico City is, of course, a state-funded museum. And so the director there did not have great worries about the immediate financial consequences, particularly in terms of paying the staff. They were focusing, while they were closed, on doing some building work in the museum, and also on academic work.
They’ve had experience previously of earthquakes, but also of pandemics. So they were well prepared with sanitizers, with protocols of how visitors should come, and they feel the public know that and trust them. So they’ve already started working on thinking which things they might want to borrow from other cultures to add to the permanent display in Mexico, and they’re working on that.
Mumbai had a different situation. It’s not a state-funded museum, so there’s a real financial question about the future, and particularly the private support, which keeps the museum going. They also had major problems with the monsoon, which was causing difficulties for the building, now resolved. They’ve started working with the university, with academic colleagues, on how they want to think about India’s history told through objects, relating that history to the rest of the world, and what kind of loans might help that.
And they’re preparing. They don’t know when they’re going to open. Like Mexico City, they don’t yet have a date because the pandemic is still in a very strong state. But they’re beginning to prepare for the return of their publics. And both of them, of course, have been doing a great deal of work online, building new digital connections with their publics.
But what was clear for both of them was that the local public is now much more important, because everyone’s expecting there will be fewer tourists. What you tell through your permanent collection to the local public has become much more important, both for Mexico City and for Mumbai.
CUNO: Yeah. Now, why the Berlin and Shanghai museums? What distinguishes them from Mumbai and Mexico City, or what do have in common?
MACGREGOR: In the short term, the main difference is that where Mexico City and Mumbai, like the British Museum, are still closed because of the pandemic, Shanghai and the Museums on the Museum Island in Berlin, most of them, have now reopened.
CUNO: Well, thank you, Neil, for that introduction to our project. And now let’s bring in Dr. Yang, who’s director of the Shanghai Museum, and a partner in the Ancient Worlds Now initiative. Dr. Yang, thank you for joining us on this podcast episode.
YANG: Thank you for inviting me.
CUNO: Now, tell us about the current state of affairs in your museum, now that you’re reopened. How are you doing, now that it’s been reopened?
YANG: We’ve reopened for more than three months. We opened three temporary exhibitions. I think I can say everything goes well with the museum.
CUNO: Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s very good news. How long were you closed?
YANG: We were closed for forty-nine days, since January 24th. That was the Chinese New Years Eve.
CUNO: And how did you maintain relations with your public while you were closed? How did you keep in touch with everyone that was now, all of a sudden, locked out of your museum?
YANG: We launched digital resources, our website, such as virtual exhibitions, online collection, lecture videos, learning resources. We maintained active interaction with visitors, Weibo and WeChat.
CUNO: Ah. And at what point did it become a matter for discussion with some management, with your board or your government? How did you do that?
YANG: When it was confirmed that the virus could be spread human-to-human, it was close to the spring festival, when we were expecting many tourists from all over the country. And we experienced SARS in 2003. We know how important it is to cut the spread as early as you can. So it was a point to discuss with management team and the government.
MACGREGOR: Dr. Yang, I’m very interested what you said, Yang, that you’d already had the previous experience of the SARS pandemic. Had the museum closed at that stage? Had you had a similar routine, protocol, of dealing with visitors?
YANG: We had no such plan for this kind of pandemic, but we have contingency plans for fire, emergency issues, like many other museums. But we also [had] the experience of the SARS several years ago. So we were able to draft [a] response plan quickly.
MACGREGOR: Yes. And was that a response that you had to shape alone inside the museum, or were the authorities of the city or the government authorities making those decisions on your behalf?
YANG: We initiate with government and other museums. We talked, we discussed together.
MACGREGOR: So that you were able to have a coordinated response?
YANG: Yeah, yeah.
CUNO: Were you caught by surprise at all? Or how rapidly was the situation developing for you?
YANG: As far as I can remember, when human-to-human spread was confirmed, the situation developed every minute. We had emergency response meetings on those days, to prepare for antivirus measures.
CUNO: When did you decide to close, and how did you announce your closing to the people? Because you have a very popular museum.
YANG: Mm-hm. During the daytime of January 23rd, we decided to implement measures such as cancelling public programs, temperature screening, wearing masks, closing the restaurant and teahouse, capped visitor number, and shortening opening hours. In our second announcement, we mentioned that we might need to close the museum at any time, after reviewing the development.
During that night, we decided to close the museum from January 24th to February 8th. So on that single day, we had issued three announcements. On February 5th, we announced to extend the closing till further notice. We announced on our website and social media.
MACGREGOR: So what kind of visitor numbers are you having at the moment, now that you have reopened?
YANG: We opened with limited online reservations, with 2,000 entries per day. That’s less than a quarter, before COVID-19. Strict measures are still implemented. Visitors wear masks all the time. They believe that we can provide a save and healthy environment.
MACGREGOR: Entrance to the Shanghai Museum is, of course, free of charge. But are there other financial consequences for you of the pandemic?
YANG: Yes. In Shanghai Museum, the admission is free. Our budget totally from government. It’s very difficult. We expect a cut in budget next year.
MACGREGOR: So as with all museums, we’re looking at some reduced budget, as you say. What do you think that will mean for your future programs, your temporary exhibition programs, your education work, that kind of thing, your public program?
YANG: We will reduce number, number of our programs.
MACGREGOR: And just to finish with the visitors, when they started coming back, did you see any difference in the way they behaved? What is the experience like now? They’re wearing masks, they wash their hands. Do they go around the collection in the same way as before?
YANG: Before reopening, we were sure that we need to limit daily admission, with online reservation only, which is a very effective way to contain the virus spread. Now we have less than one quarter of daily visitors before COVID-19. We are missing many of our domestic tourists and almost all of our international visitors.
When you have local visitors in the museums, you find they are more interested in special exhibitions. Every time a new exhibition opens, there was a small increase in the online bookings. We hope to attract them to revisit the museum.
There are not so many visitors inside the building now. It’s quiet in the museum. If you are in a quiet environment, you will behave quietly. And they read labels and panels more carefully. The quiet environment helps people to focus.
MACGREGOR: So a local public and a more engaged one.
CUNO: I’m very impressed by the confidence you show, Dr. Yang, in reopening the museum and the protocols you put into place and the response of the public to the new protocols, because it’s all a very strange experience.
YANG: I’m very glad to share this experience.
CUNO: Now, we are very happy to talk with you about that, but also about the Getty’s Ancient Worlds Now initiative, which we’ve developed to explore relations between ancient cultures all around the world. What impact do you think the pandemic might have on the public’s interest in a global story of humanity, given that the pandemic has spread as an example of a kind of global interrelation of our nations?
YANG: The pandemic tells us we are far more closely connected than we thought before. We may be different in many ways, but we are one humankind. I think people will be more interested in the diversities and the inclusiveness of human civilizations throughout human history. And that is exactly what Ancient Worlds Now can present.
We hope to tell a universal story to our public, to showcase the wisdom and the creativity of people around the world throughout history, and how Chinese art and culture interact with other civilizations. We hope we can inspire people to explore the connection between all human beings.
CUNO: And we hope very much to do the same, and to make it possible for you to borrow works of art from Mumbai and from Mexico City, from London and from Berlin; but also to share your collections with Mumbai and Mexico City and Berlin and London. Mutual exchange.
What thoughts do you have about exhibitions that you might develop in this partnership with the other museums?
YANG: We will discuss about several topics. For example, the writing of civilization. And religions. Faith and religions, yeah.
MACGREGOR: Dr. Yang, the topics you mention about exploring writing across different civilians. I know this is something very much of interest to the colleagues in Mexico City. And also the colleagues in Mumbai and in Berlin are very interested, I think, in discussing with you possibilities about representations of the gods. You talk about religions and faith, and how those images are formed and how they move. I think over the next few months, once we can start talking again, particularly once we can meet again, those themes are going to be very interesting ones to explore together.
YANG: Yeah, I’m waiting the moment of Berlin, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Mexico, we work together.
CUNO: Well, we look forward to that moment, also. So thank you very much, Dr. Yang.

YANG: Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Neil.
CUNO: And Neil, as always, thank you.
MACGREGOR: Thank you.
CUNO: That same day, June 29, Neil and I spoke with Dr. Andreas Scholl. He is the director of the Altes Museum, Antikensaammlung, Collection of Classical Antiquities, in Berlin.
CUNO: Thank you, Andreas, for joining us on this podcast episode.
ANDREAS SCHOLL: Hello, Jim. Thank you for inviting me.
CUNO: Well, it’s always nice to talk with you. Now, tell us about the current state of affairs in your museum. How are you doing now that it’s reopened?
SCHOLL: Yes. By far, not all of the state museums have been reopened, but we are lucky that at least three of the four museums in which we display our collection are open again. First of all, the so-called Altes, or Old Museum; the Neues, or New Museum; and our new exhibition hall with Pergamon Panorama. Unfortunately, the Pergamon Museum itself, clearly the most famous museum belonging to the state museums here in Berlin, is still closed, and together with it, our new entrance building.
CUNO: Well now, the museum was going to be closed anyway for a period of time, wasn’t it?
SCHOLL: Yes. You’re right. One-third of the museum is closed since 2013, for renovation work. But a substantial part of it, collection of Near Eastern antiquities and the Museum of Islamic Art and our large Roman architecture gallery was still open, so we miss that very much.
CUNO: Yeah. For those parts of the museum that were scheduled to be open, and are in fact opened, how long were they closed?
SCHOLL: Almost exactly two months, from March 14th until May 12th, 2020. So the longest closure since the end of the war.
CUNO: How did you maintain relations with your public while you were closed?
SCHOLL: Right after the shutdown, we started to cooperate, as we often to, with Radio Berlin Brandenburg. That’s by far the most important TV and radio channel here in Berlin. And we produced with them, already the first days after the lockdown, an extended guided tour through the Altes Museum, done by my colleague Martin Maischberger. And so we talked about the core of our Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artworks. And we gave several radio interviews and talked, for example, about our current temporary exhibition and encouraged certain parts of the public—for example, our large supporters’ group called Friends of the Museum Island—by mailings to browse online through our vast holdings. We have all our ancient sculptures online, the entire collection of 9,000 bronzes. And we have, I think, a quite interesting digital rendering of our by far most prominent exhibit, the Great Altar from Pergamon. That’s what we did in the first weeks of the closure.
MACGREGOR: Andreas, could we go perhaps back a little to the moment at which it became clear that you might have to close? How was that decision taken? Where were the discussions held? Who made the decision that the state museums of Berlin should close? And when did it happen?
SCHOLL: Yes. So as we are state museums, we are state owned, we are state financed, and we are part of a fairly complex governmental hierarchy. Which means, as I understand it, that in such a case as a pandemic, we are simply being told what to do. And in our case, it’s the president of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage who had to take these decisions.
But I think it was relatively easy for him because at the same time, the school and university closures were discussed. And so it came as no surprise that with only some days of warning, we had to close down on the 14th of March.
MACGREGOR: Did you already have in place contingency plans for an event like this, for sudden long-term closure?
SCHOLL: We were actually not prepared for a pandemic. There are, of course, contingency plans for other critical situations. But I think no one here was really prepared to face a rapidly evolving pandemic. Actually, the first crisis, as you all know, of that kind since the so-called Spanish influenza, exactly a century ago, in 1919 and 1920. So it was a big surprise for us.
MACGREGOR: And were there discussions at senior management level among the directors of the different museums in Berlin, or between you and your senior staff? Or was it all simply decided by the president of the foundation, with the politicians, and then you all were just told? How did it work?
SCHOLL: Exactly as you said. The decision was taken by the president, I guess after talking to the responsible politicians, and then we and the public were told, with maybe three or four days in advance, that we would have to close.
CUNO: I’m interested in what the financial consequences might be for the museum. I
SCHOLL: The immediate financial consequences were and are still tough, if not a disaster, in the long run, as we lose and are still losing most of the revenues from our ticket sales. Just to give you an idea, around two-million Euros every month. Of course, we are a state body. We are supported by the state; the state pays our wages and many other things, all the building operations. And so far, we are in a comfortable position.
But I think it’s not very difficult to predict that for the foreseeable future, we will be facing a lot of problems.
MACGREGOR: What will that mean for the future? Will you need to lose curatorial staff? Do you want what the implications will be?
SCHOLL: Not yet. Not yet. We hope that we will not be losing staff. As some of the staff are civil servants anyway, this is not really to be expected. I’m much more afraid that it will be very difficult to raise funds for larger temporary exhibitions, for improvements in the museum, didactic initiatives, and things like that.
And I think we have also to be afraid that the massive support we have had from various German governments in renovating the Museum Island, in renovating all the buildings after the wall had come down, that this might be reduced and that there will be much slower progress in the future. But we have already received signals from politics, from the secretary who is charge of the cultural affairs in Germany, that there will be further support. But we have no in which way this will materialize later on.
MACGREGOR: So your biggest concern really is that private sponsorship for projects like exhibitions, education programs, that those will suffer as the economy slows.
SCHOLL: Yeah. But to my judgment, it’s a lot too early, really, to predict what’s going to happen in, yeah, the next two or three years.
CUNO: Since your museum is one of the few Berlin museums open now, I assume that it’s better for you than it is for those that are still closed.
SCHOLL: Yes. Of course, we are happy that we were allowed to reopen at least some. We have already reached a second stage. Exactly a week ago, we opened further museums. So the Neues Museum, on the Museum Island, for example, was reopened, which is very important because it has Nefertiti and the Egyptian collection in it. So we are making progress on that front. But the situation is in so far problematic, as we do not have the response from the public we expected.
MACGREGOR: In what way have the public not responded?
SCHOLL: If you see that the concert halls, the opera houses, the theater, the sports venues are all being closed still, I had hoped for a lot more visitors, I must say. But of course, we still have the situation that there are very few national tourists. It’s improving now, because the summer school holidays in some of the German provinces have started. We have no international visitors, on whom we usually rely very heavily.
So it’s basically the population of Berlin and surrounding Brandenburg. And numbers have, I would say, in the case of the Altes Museum, gone down to one-fifth or a quarter of the usual attendance, to give you just an idea.
On a normal weekday, we have between 800 and 1,000 visitors in the Altes Museum. Now we have, yeah, 200, let’s say. It’s much better on weekends. It’s different in the Pergamon Panorama, which is actually leading the field, with around 700 to 800 visitors on a normal weekday.
MACGREGOR: So how does it work? If I turn up at the Altes Museum wanting to visit it, what happens? How do I do it and what happens?
SCHOLL: Yes. We expect our visitors to book online, for a time-slot ticket. But as the turnout is not as dramatic as one would have hoped for, it’s also possible to show up and ask whether there are tickets for a specific time slot available, and then you can buy a ticket at the ticket counter and just walk in. There are one-way routes, so you can’t move around as freely as you usually would be allowed to in the museum. You are asked to disinfect your hands, and of course, to wear a mask; that’s absolutely obligatory when you want to visit the museum. But that’s it.
So I would say that many museum lovers seem to enjoy the fact that our collections are not at all over-crowded, and that they have plenty of space and time to look properly at the marvelous artworks on display on the Museum Island. So for the, so to say, real museum lover, it’s quite a good time.
MACGREGOR: Do you think the visitors, when they come to the museum, do they feel safe? Are they relaxed in the museum?
SCHOLL: Yes, that’s definitely my impression. Because it’s not over-crowded. They have to take these safety measures which, you know, are now absolutely common here. Almost all people wear masks in the public transport. Many wear the masks even when walking on the streets. It’s part, here, of the daily routine by now. And yeah, we simply have to get used to it. And I would guess 95% of the population respects the rules. You always have some who ignore it.
CUNO: Andreas, you’re a partner in the Getty’s Ancient Worlds Now initiative, which means to explore relations between ancient cultures around the world. What impact do you think the pandemic’s going to have on this initiative and the public’s interest in a global story about humanity?
SCHOLL: Yeah, I hope a very strong one. It will hopefully rise awareness that we live in an interconnected globalized world, and that problems like a rapidly spreading pandemic, or to choose another example, the dramatic climate change also felt here, can successfully only be treated by global institutions, which needs—like the United Nations or, for example, the WHO—more political and financial support by more countries.
CUNO: What thoughts do you have about working with your colleagues in Shanghai? What kind of stories do you think you can tell together? And have you worked with them before?
SCHOLL: Our experience at the Collection of Classical Antiquities incorporates with[?] China with the very big opening exhibition of the National Museum in Beijing, when we cooperated with the museums in Munich and Dresden, on the topic of the Age of Enlightenment. We contributed quite a lot of loans. When we talk about the importance of Classical antiquities in the eighteenth century, how the idea of enlightenment was, to a great deal, developed by looking at antiquity and the habits in antiquity. But otherwise, we have not cooperated on a, yeah, one-to-one basis with the Chinese museums. So I’m really looking forward to that.
And to answer your question, of course we are looking at our holding first, what might be interesting for the Shanghai museums. And with my exhibition experience and with my background, a thing would always come to my mind are gifts to the gods, votive offerings, of which we have an incredibly array to offer. And as votive offerings are relevant for most world religions, this might be a topic to work on.
Another relevant thing might be portraiture, in the broadest sense. How did the ancients in the Mediterranean and in China see themselves? How would that compare with the self-representations of other cultures? So I think that would be the first topic we could talk about.
CUNO: Tell us more about the votive offerings as an exhibition idea. What do the votive offerings look like in the ancient Mediterranean world, and what do they look like in the ancient Chinese world?
SCHOLL: In the ancient Mediterranean, especially for the Greek and Roman world, this is quite a fascinating topic because in Greek and Roman religion, you could dedicate almost everything. From a little bronze needle to an entire warship, there is an incredible panorama of things that were dedicated to the gods, and we can, from the literary sources, tell very clearly what the ideas behind it were. Why were very, very precious things dedicated to the gods? The Greeks had a very clear idea of what they wanted to gain from the gods in return. And this, I think, is pretty fascinating.
As far as China is concerned, I must confess that I have to learn a lot about this. And part of this endeavor, I think, would— simply by talking to the colleagues in Shanghai, what they know about, yeah, Chinese religion, which relevant objects they might have, and to develop a plan and a design for such an exhibition together. I think that’s what the Ancient Worlds Now program is mainly about.
MACGREGOR: A few years ago, I know that the Shanghai Museum lent objects to the Egyptian Museum in Berlin. And there was a comparative exhibition, really, of Egypt, Ancient Egypt and Ancient China. Do you know what the resonance of that exhibition was? Do you know how it was received by the public in Berlin?
SCHOLL: It was extremely well received. And I found it very interesting. It had a lot of visitors. And beside the fact that there were no direct historic connections between these two very important ancient cultures, it turned out to be extremely interesting. They presented ordinary items of everyday life, but also important art treasures, serving to bring to us closer, these past cultures, communicating information about places, pieces, and ways of life. They talked about writing systems, forms of government, religious beliefs, funerary cult, and daily life. And it turned out that in some areas, Chinese and Egyptian art and culture revealed quite surprising correlations. In others, interesting tensions emerged. So I think this comparatistic way of approaching two important ancient cultures turned out to be extremely interesting.
MACGREGOR: I’m very interested in what you’ve been saying, that there was no connection between the two cultures; but putting the objects from the two societies side by side, raised interesting questions, demonstrated correlations. You did something quite similar, I think, with some Indian sculptures from Dalian[?]. You exhibited a statue of the Indian god Vishnu in the context of Greek and Roman gods in the pantheon of the Altes Museum. How did that work, do you think? And what emerged from that?
SCHOLL: Yes, I think this worked quite nicely. As you said, we confronted a monumental statue of Vishnu with the full array of the Greek and Roman gods in the rotunda of the Altes Museum. And it was very interesting to observe people entering the rotunda. They all went first to have a look, a proper look at the Vishnu. And of course, everyone wanted to know why he was there. But it was, as you said, not just the Vishnu. He was a kind of eye opener, and then people were directed to the galleries by various means.
And there, they found other confrontations of mainly stone objects—reliefs, other sculptures in the round—with Greek, Etruscan, and Roman specimen[s]. I think it was not just about demonstrating that there was some Hellenistic influence on the Gandharan culture, for example, that was part of the exhibition, but we compared the way the gods were represented. We compared the way in which the gods were venerated—again, the votive offerings came in. We looked at the different way of representing the gods, not just in an anthropomorphic, but also in various combinations of animals and human beings. Which is also to be found in Greek tradition which freely combines anthropomorphic with other shapes or representations of the gods and heroes. So there are much more connections to be made than one would expect on first-hand viewing.
MACGREGOR: I think this is the kind of confrontation that I think Mumbai is considering in the context of Ancient Worlds Now, borrowing Greek and Roman sculpture to put among the statues of the Indian gods. One of the things that I found very fascinating about your putting Indian and the Greek and Roman statues of gods together was the awareness, particularly when there were Indian visitors there, that Vishnu is still a living god, in the sense of a god that is still venerated. Surrounded by what I call dead gods.
And that, I think, is the kind of tension that will be very interesting in discussing display in the context of Ancient Worlds Now over the long-term, ehere it’s a long-term loan.
SCHOLL: Yes, I think by looking at this aspect, we can learn a lot about the, yeah, the everyday religion practiced in ancient Greece and Rome.
CUNO: This is a very exciting opportunity for the world, I think, to reexperience these different cultures brought together in the same place for periods of time. So we are grateful to you for your contributions to this initiative. We’re grateful to you for speaking on the podcast about the impact of COVID-19 on your museum, and how yoe responded and how your publics responded to the museums. So thank you for joining us on this podcast. And Neil, as always, thank you.
MACGREGOR: Thank you, Jim; thank you, Andreas.
SCHOLL: Yeah, thank you, Neil; thank you, Jim.
CUNO: This episode was produced by Zoe Goldman, with audio production by Gideon Brower and mixing by Mike Dodge Weiskopf. Our theme music comes from the “The Dharma at Big Sur” composed by John Adams, for the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2003, and is licensed with permission from Hendon Music. Look for new episodes of Art and Ideas every other Wednesday, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast platforms. For photos, transcripts and more resources, visit or if you have a question, or an idea for an upcoming episode, write to us at Thanks for listening.

JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, President of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
YANG ZHIGANG: . The pandemic tells us we are far more closely connected than we thought before. We ...

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