Transcript: Can Museums and Galleries Survive COVID-19? | May 15, 2020

Steve sits in a room with white walls, a low slanted ceiling and several framed pictures on the walls including one of George Drew and one of Walter Kronkite. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black suit and a blue shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Can museums and galleries survive COVID-19?"

Steve says IN A NORMAL YEAR, THIS COMING HOLIDAY WEEKEND WOULD BE A TIME FOR ONTARIANS TO TRAVEL ALL OVER THE PROVINCE, AND MAYBE TAKE IN A TRIP TO A GALLERY OR MUSEUM. BUT THIS VICTORIA DAY WEEKEND, THAT'S NOT ON. OUR CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS ARE SHUT TIGHT DUE TO COVID-19. WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO STAY RELEVANT? CAN THEY INNOVATE AND STILL SHOW THEIR EXHIBITS? LET'S FIND OUT: IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL, IN SANDY HILL: SASHA SUDA, DIRECTOR AND CEO OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA...

Sasha is in her early forties, with long auburn hair in a ponytail. She's wearing a round-necked white shirt.

Steve continues IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO: SHELLEY FALCONER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE ART GALLERY OF HAMILTON...

Shelley is in her thirties, with long straight brown hair. She's wearing a black blouse, white sweater and a pendant necklace.

Steve continues AND IN WELLINGTON, IN PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY: RICK NELSON, CURATOR, OLD MILL HERITAGE CENTRE, THAT'S A MUSEUM IN KAGAWONG ON MANITOULIN ISLAND...

Rick is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short, mid-parted gray hair. He's wearing a black sweater.

Steve continues IT'S SO GREAT TO HAVE YOU THREE WITH US, AND ONE OF THE REASONS WE WANTED TO HAVE YOU THREE IN PARTICULAR IS THAT YOU KIND OF REPRESENT THE PANOPLY OF DIFFERENT INSTITUTIONS IN OUR PROVINCE, FROM THE VERY BIG AND PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL GALLERY TO A MID-SIZED GALLERY IN HAMILTON AND TO, RICK, DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY, BUT YOUR ADORABLE LITTLE MUSEUM IN A TOWN OF 500 PEOPLE. SO LET'S GET OFF TO THE RACES AS WE GO ALONG. SHELLEY, I WENT TO YOUR WEBSITE JUST BEFORE WE STARTED THIS CONVERSATION AND IT SAID THE ART GALLERY OF HAMILTON IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO WALK THROUGH THAT GALLERY WHEN NOBODY IS THERE.

The caption changes to "Shelley Falconer. Art Gallery of Hamilton."

A picture appears briefly on screen showing a deserted gallery room with black walls and colourful paintings on display.

Shelley says IT'S SAD. IT'S SOMETHING THAT I THINK... I KNOW WE'RE ALL GOING THROUGH. WE'RE ACCUSTOMED TO HAVING A LOT OF THE PUBLIC HERE AND OUR STAFF. AND RIGHT NOW THERE'S JUST A VERY LITTLE GROUP OF US THAT COME IN A FEW DAYS A WEEK TO TAKE CARE OF THINGS. WHILE ON ONE HAND IT'S A LITTLE DISTURBING, WE QUICKLY PIVOTED, AND EVERYONE IS WORKING REALLY HARD AT MOVING A LOT OF WHAT WE DID ON SITE ONLINE. SO I TAKE SOLACE IN A LOT OF WHAT WE SEE THAT WE'RE DEVELOPING ONLINE RIGHT NOW WITH OUR PROGRAMS.

Steve says SASHA, NO PEOPLE COMING IN, OF COURSE, MEANS NO REVENUE COMING IN. IT MEANS NO TICKET SALES, IT MEANS NO WEDDINGS, IT MEANS NO GIFT SHOP PURCHASES. WHAT'S HAPPENED TO YOUR REVENUES DURING THE CRISIS?

The caption changes to "Sasha Suda. National Gallery of Canada."

Sasha says YOU FORGOT THE PARKING WHICH IS REVENUE AS WELL. THE REVENUES GO TO ZERO OVERNIGHT. AND IT WAS A QUESTION OF MINUTES AFTER MAKING THE DECISION THAT WE REALIZED THAT THAT WOULD BE THE CASE. SO IT'S BEEN A QUICK PIVOT FOR THE TEAM TO THINK ABOUT HOW THE BUDGET WOULD LOOK MOVING FORWARD WITH THIS NEW REALITY.

Steve says HAVE YOU HAD TO LAY PEOPLE OFF?

Sasha says WE HAVE HAD TO END A COUPLE OF CONTRACTS EARLY. WE HAVE TECHNICALLY LAID OFF SOME OF OUR ON CALL STAFF SO THAT THEY WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR SOME OF THE PROGRAMS THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS PUT OUT TO SUPPORT FOLKS WHO ARE IN NEED. BUT WE HAVE,q REMARKABLY, BEEN ABLE TO KEEP OUR PURPLE IN THE EVENT FULL-TIME STAFF... PERMANENT FULL-TIME STAFF INTACT WHICH WE ARE HAPPY ABOUT.

Steve says DO YOU GET THE WAGE BACKSTOP FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO HELP OUT WITH THAT?

Sasha says NO, THE NATIONAL GALLERY IS A CROWN CORPORATION SO WE HAVE NOT BEEN ELIGIBLE TO THE PROGRAMS THAT HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED TO DATE.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD. RICK, WE SHOULD ESTABLISH THE FACT THAT YOU'RE NOT IN KAGAWONG RIGHT NOW BECAUSE YOU'RE TAKING CARE OF YOUR ELDERLY PARENTS IN PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, BUT WHAT HAS THIS PANDEMIC DONE TO A MUSEUM THAT I GUESS WOULD HAVE OPENED... YOU'D HAVE BEEN UP THERE FOR A MONTH BY NOW, AND WOULD HAVE OPENED THIS WEEKEND. WHAT'S HAPPENING?

The caption changes to "Rick Nelson. Old Mill Heritage Centre."

A picture shows an empty room with a boat and dozens of pictures on display.

Rick says WELL, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A HIT, STEVE. WE'RE COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON TOURISM. AS YOU KNOW, MANITOULIN ISLAND IS VERY REMOTE. IT'S VERY HARD TO GET HERE. IT'S ABOUT 7 HOURS TO GET HERE FROM TORONTO IF YOU TAKE THE FERRY FROM SUDBURY. RIGHT NOW THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IS ASKING TOURISTS NOT TO COME UNTIL THE THREAT CHANGES. UNTIL THAT HAPPENS, WE'RE DEAD IN THE WATER. THE FERRY IS NOT RUNNING UNTIL JUNE. AND THEN EVEN THEN, IT WILL BE COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC ONLY AND ESSENTIAL TRAVEL, SO THAT MEANS NO TOURISTS WILL BE ALLOWED. WE HAVE NO CRUISE SHIPS COMING IN TO MANITOULIN, NO BUS TRAVELS. THAT'S CANCELLED. NO EUROPEANS. NO AMERICANS. SO NO REVENUE.

Steve says AND, SHELLEY, WHAT'S HAPPENED TO YOUR BOTTOM LINE?

Shelley says WELL, IT'S BEEN REALLY A CHALLENGE FOR THE AGH. WE'RE ONE OF THOSE INSTITUTIONS THAT RELIES HEAVILY ON EARNED REVENUES. SO TYPICALLY IN THE COUNTRY IT'S ABOUT 33 percent OF AN ART GALLERY/MUSEUM'S BUDGET THAT COMES FROM EARNED REVENUES. WE'RE ABOUT DOUBLE THAT. AND SO MUCH LIKE SACHA HAS INDICATED, OVERNIGHT THE WEDDINGS, THE RETAIL ADMISSIONS, OUR ANNUAL FUNDRAISER, ET CETERA, HAVE ALL BEEN CANCELLED. SO HOW WE'RE GOING TO MAKE UP FOR THAT IS GOING TO BE THE BIG CHALLENGE FOR US THIS YEAR, BUT IT CERTAINLY HAS DEEPLY AFFECTED OUR BOTTOM LINE. AND WE ARE FORTUNATE THAT WE CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FEDERAL WAGE SUBSIDY, ALTHOUGH WE HAVE HAD TO LAY OFF SOME OF OUR STAFF TEMPORARILY, BUT NONE OF OUR PERMANENT FULL-TIME STAFF AS OF YET.

Steve says SHELLEY, CAN YOU FOLLOW UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE YOU'VE SORT OF ANTICIPATED MY NEXT QUESTION, WHICH IS: HAS ANYBODY FROM YOUR ORGANIZATION, OR IF THERE'S AN ASSOCIATION REPRESENTING ALL GALLERIES, HAVE THEY GONE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT AND ASKED FOR SOME KIND OF HELP TO GET OUT OF THIS?

Shelley says YEAH. I HAVE TO SAY, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT HAVE BEEN REALLY WONDERFUL ABOUT REACHING OUT AND LETTING US KNOW FROM THE CANADA COUNCIL TO THE ONTARIO ARTS COUNCIL THAT THEY'RE THERE FOR US, WHETHER IT'S ADVANCES ON OPERATING FUNDS FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR OR SUPPORT. BUT AN ORGANIZATION LIKE MINE, WHERE IT'S MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT WE BRING IN IN EARNED REVENUES, MAKING UP THAT DIFFERENCE IS GOING TO BE REALLY DIFFICULT FOR US BY THE END OF THE YEAR. AND IT'S NOT TYPICAL...

Steve says RIGHT. I KNOW THE THREE OF YOU OBVIOUSLY IN THE PRECEDING SIX AND TWELVE MONTHS, AND MAYBE EVEN LONGER, HAVE BEEN PLANNING VARIOUS SPECIAL EXHIBITS THAT YOU PLANNED TO ROLL OUT, EITHER THIS SPRING OR THIS SUMMER, AND PRESUMABLY ALL OF THAT IS ON HOLD RIGHT NOW. SASHA, MAYBE YOU COULD START ON THAT FRONT. WHAT CAN'T YOU DO NOW THAT YOU HAD PLANNED TO DO?

A picture shows the massive main entrance hall to the National Gallery, with symmetrical shadows cast onto colourful walls by the metal beams supporting a vaulted glass ceiling.

Sasha says WELL, I HAVE TO SAY, WE'RE REALLY SAD NOT TO WELCOME GUESTS OR VISITORS OR COMMUNITY FOR THE LAST TWO MONTHS OF OUR EXHIBITION, "CONTINUOUS FIRE," WHICH IS OUR CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS EXHIBITION OF GLOBAL ART. THAT IS NOT GOING TO BE OPEN AGAIN, AND THAT'S JUST DEVASTATING TO SAY. WE ALSO HAD A FANTASTIC EXHIBITION THIS FALL OF CANADIAN ART, CANADA AND IMPRESSIONISM, AND THAT WILL END UP STAYING IN EUROPE BECAUSE IT'S ON AS PART OF A EUROPEAN TOUR. SO WHEN THIS HAPPENED, YOU KNOW, THE IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE IS THAT IT STOPPED THE CLOCK FOR ALL INSTITUTIONS, AND WE WORK REALLY HARD AND ON TIGHT MARGINS TO HAVE THESE SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS TOUR CANADA AND NORTH AMERICA AND THE WORLD, AND THE LOGISTICAL CHALLENGES THAT IT'S GOING TO PROPOSE IN TERMS OF THE PUZZLE THAT OUR EXHIBITION CALENDAR, IS QUITE REMARKABLE. AND MY HATS GO OFF TO ALL THE EXHIBITIONS PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE WORKING WITH THOSE NEW REALITIES RIGHT NOW.

Steve says SASHA, IS THAT TO SAY THAT THOSE WHO DIDN'T GET TO SEE THAT SPECIAL EXHIBIT UNTIL NOW, THEY'RE JUST OUT OF LUCK. YOU CAN'T SORT OF MAKE AN APPEAL TO THOSE WHO WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALLOWING YOU TO HAVE THAT WORK TO EXTEND THE CONTRACT? I MEAN, HOW DOES IT WORK?

Sasha says WELL, CERTAINLY WE CAN AND WE ARE IN THOSE CONVERSATIONS. HOWEVER, EVERY MUSEUM MAKES COMMITMENTS TO LEND ITS WORK SOMEWHERE AND TO SHOW THEM TO THEIR HOME COMMUNITIES AS WELL. SO IT WILL BE ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS THAT WE'LL HAVE TO NEGOTIATE EXTENSIONS AND WE'LL HAVE TO LOOK AT OUR OWN CALENDAR, WHICH OF COURSE HAS MORE EXHIBITIONS SLOTTED IN AFTER THE ONES THAT ARE UP NOW. SO REALLY EVERY CHANGE HAS A DOMINO EFFECT ON THE ORGANIZATION, AND THE LOGISTICAL ASPECTS OF THAT ARE REALLY WHAT ARE THE DRIVING CONSIDERATIONS RIGHT NOW. AND OF COURSE THE FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS THAT ARE MADE IN ORDER FOR EACH OF THESE EXHIBITIONS TO BE PUT ON SHOW. WHAT WE ARE EXPLORING NOW IS HOW TO GIVE THE VIRTUAL ACCESS TO THOSE EXHIBITIONS AND TO THOSE WORKS OF ART WHILE WE WORK FROM HOME...

Steve says HANG ON ON THAT. WE'RE GOING TO GET TO THE VIRTUAL ANGLE. RICK, IF YOU COULD PICK UP ON THE NEXT POINT. WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO THIS SUMMER THAT WAS DIFFERENT AND SPECIAL AND THAT IS NOT ON RIGHT NOW?

The caption changes to "Rick Nelson, @oldmillheritage."

Rick says WOULD YOU LIKE IT IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER? WE HAD A LOT OF THINGS PLANNED THAT ARE NOW ON HOLD. WE PLANNED TO CELEBRATE THE 95TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OLD MILL ITSELF, THE BUILDING WHERE THE MUSEUM IS HOUSED. BUILT IN 1925. SO WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A BIG CELEBRATION FOR ITS 95TH ANNIVERSARY AND, YOU KNOW, THAT'S IN LIMBO RIGHT AT THE MOMENT. AND THEN YOU TAKE THE BUS TOURS, THE SCHOOL FIELD TRIPS. THAT'S GONE. BARBECUE FUNDRAISERS, GONE. THE MUDGE BAY MYSTERY TOUR, THAT WAS A BIG POPULAR EVENT, WHERE WE WOULD GO OUT INTO THE NORTH CHANNEL ON A 100-SEATER TOUR VESSEL FOR DINNER CRUISES, TELL THE STORIES OF THE MYSTERIES OF MUDGE BAY AND LAKE HURON. YOU KNOW, A NICE TIME FOR PEOPLE TO GET TOGETHER. AND THAT'S CANCELLED. THE HISTORY OF KAGAWONG. YOU'VE ATTENDED THOSE, STEVE. AND THAT'S AN ANNUAL EVENT IN AUGUST WHERE WE PACK 'EM IN TO THE COMMUNITY HALL AND DO POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS ABOUT OUR HERITAGE, CANCELLED. AND THEN THE BIG DADDY THIS YEAR WAS AN EXHIBIT ON... THAT WE WERE GOING TO GET FROM THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTRY IN GATINEAU, FEATURING THE ARTEFACTS FROM THE IMPRESS OF IRELAND... EMPRESS OF IRELAND, WHICH IS A VESSEL ABOUT THE SAME SIZE OF THE TITANIC THAT SANK TWO YEARS LATER, 1914, IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE, WITH A LOSS OF OVER A THOUSAND LIVES, SANK IN 14 MINUTES.

A black and white picture shows a huge steamship.

Rick continues YOU KNOW, THAT WAS AN EXHIBIT THAT WE WERE GOING TO PUT ON, THANKS TO THE FINE FOLKS AT THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND CANADIAN HERITAGE. FORTUNATELY IT'S NOT LOST, IT'S JUST POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT YEAR. BUT, YOU KNOW, THESE ARE EVENTS THAT WE WERE COUNTING ON THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE THIS YEAR.

Steve says SHELLEY, HOW ABOUT YOU? WHAT'S NOT ON NOW THAT YOU HAD REALLY HOPED TO ROLL OUT THIS SPRING OR SUMMER?

The caption changes to "Shelley Falconer, @Shelley_AGH."

Shelley says SIMILAR TO SASHA AND RICK, IT'S BEEN ABOUT CANCELLING A LOT OF THOSE EXHIBITIONS WE HAD PLANNED. WE HAD A TOM THOMSON EXHIBITION AND MAUDE LEWIS. PLANNING TAKES A LOT OF TIME. THERE'S A LOT OF THOUGHT AND WORK THAT GOES INTO PUTTING THOSE PROGRAMS AND EXHIBITIONS TOGETHER. SO WE HAD TO VERY QUICKLY SIT AND REGROUP AND THINK ABOUT HOW WE WERE GOING TO RE-THINK THE TIMING ON THOSE, AND OF COURSE EVERY EXHIBITION IS LINKED TO LENDERS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS. IN FACT, I THINK, SASHA, THERE'S A NOTE THAT'S GONE OFF TO YOU THIS MORNING TO ASK FOR AN EXTENSION ON LOANS FROM THE NATIONAL FOR OUR ARTISTRY AND FRENCH EXHIBITION WHICH WAS UP FOR ONLY A MONTH BEFORE THE CLOSURE HAPPENED AND THAT'S AN EXHIBITION THAT AN ENORMOUS TIME IS PUT, A LOAN FROM THE STATES AND THE MET AND ALL OVER CANADA. SO WE'RE LOOKING TO EXTEND THE EXHIBITION... MICHAEL SNOW, THAT WAS ALSO IN. SO THAT WAS THE PLAN. WE'RE GOING TO EXTEND WHAT WE HAD, HOPEFULLY, IF THE LOANS ARE APPROVED. AND WE'RE TRYING TO MOVE THE EXHIBITIONS THAT WERE CANCELLED INTO NEXT YEAR SO THAT WE CAN STILL SHOW THOSE EXHIBITIONS. BUT IT'S A DEEPLY COLLABORATIVE EFFORT WHEN YOU PLAN EXHIBITIONS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LENDERS. SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF DOING NOW, AND HOPEFULLY THOSE EXHIBITIONS WILL STILL HAPPEN BUT IN 2021.

Steve says WE ARE, INCIDENTALLY, HAPPY TO FACILITATE ANY NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN SASHA AND SHELLEY THAT YOU MAY WANT TO HAVE RIGHT NOW HERE ON THE AIR IF WE CAN BE HELPFUL IN THAT REGARD.

Sasha says YOU GOT IT.

Shelley says THANK YOU.

Steve says THAT WAS EASY.

Shelley says I WISH THEY WERE ALL THAT EASY.

Steve says WELL, I WANT TO PLAY SOME TAPE RIGHT HERE, BECAUSE THIS IS A MASSIVE CHALLENGE TO PEOPLE WHO RUN GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS TO TRY TO REPURPOSE OR REIMAGINE HOW THEY CAN DO WHAT THEY DO. AND HERE'S A LITTLE VIDEO OFF YouTube OF THE HERMITAGE MUSEUM IN RUSSIA, WHICH HAS APPARENTLY RECORDED MORE THAN FIVE HOURS OF VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH ITS EXHIBITS SO PEOPLE CAN STILL GET TO SEE WHAT THEY'VE GOT THERE, AND IT'S OBVIOUSLY MEANT TO FEEL AS IF YOU'RE ACTUALLY WALKING THROUGH THE MUSEUM ITSELF. SO LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT. CHAD, LET'S ROLL THAT VIDEO, SHALL WE?

A clip plays on screen with the caption "A one-take journey through Russia's iconic Hermitage Museum."
Classical music plays as sweeping shots show the inside of different rooms of the Hermitage Museum, its decorated ceilings and close-ups to some of the iconic paintings on display.

Steve says NOW, SASHA, IT'S OBVIOUSLY NOT THE SAME, BUT AT LEAST IT GIVES SOME EXPOSURE TO SO MUCH BEAUTY AT A TIME WHEN PRESUMABLY WE COULD USE SOME OF THAT. WHAT HAVE YOU GUYS GOT UP YOUR SLEEVES AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY?

The caption changes to "Sasha Suda, @sashasuda."

Sasha says WELL, SIMILAR TO THE HERMITAGE, WE ARE ALSO DOING TOURS IN OUR GALLERIES LIVE ON THE WEEKEND ON INSTAGRAM, SATURDAYS AT 1:00 AND 3:00 IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH RESPECTIVELY, BECAUSE WE FOUND THERE'S A PROFOUND DESIRE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY, BOTH HERE LOCALLY AND ABROAD, TO BE IN... YOU KNOW, WITHIN THE FOUR WALLS OF THE GALLERY. THERE'S SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT TO OUR COMMUNITY ABOUT THAT. WE ALSO HAVE BEEN SHOOTING IN OFF-HOURS THE GALLERIES IN THE SAME WAY, IN A MORE PRODUCED WAY, SO PEOPLE CAN TAKE THAT TOUR, MORE SILENT TOUR, THROUGH THE GALLERIES. AND IN FACT OUR STAFF, OUR CURATORS, HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THAT FOOTAGE TO DO SOME VOICE OVERLAYS. SO THERE'S THIS REAL DESIRE, BOTH WITH STAFF AND WITH OUR COMMUNITY, TO ENGAGE WITH THE SITE ITSELF. AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I THINK HAS BEEN... REVEALED ITSELF AS QUITE PROFOUND. IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE ART, IT'S ABOUT THE PLACE.

Steve says SASHA, I SHOULD THANK YOU FOR SO ELEGANTLY CORRECTING VERY UNOBTRUSIVELY MY PRONUNCIATION, I SHOWED WHAT A PHILISTINE I AM. RICK, I'LL MOVE ON TO YOU. ARE YOU ABLE TO REPURPOSE OR REIMAGINE HOW YOU MIGHT DO EXHIBITS GIVEN HOW THE GALLERY IS CLOSED?

Rick says WELL, WE'RE GOING TO FOCUS ON VIRTUAL TOURS. THAT'S WHAT WE'VE ALREADY DISCUSSED WITH THE MUSEUM COMMITTEE. WE ALREADY HAVE A WEBSITE AND A FACEBOOK PAGE WHERE WE HAVE A LOT OF VIDEO FOOTAGE NOW THAT WE INTEND TO UPGRADE ON. WE PARTNER WITH A VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF CANADA TO FEATURE TWO FAMOUS STORIES, THE STORY OF HARBOUR ISLAND. THAT'S ALREADY UP THERE ONLINE. THAT'S A YACHTING, FISHING RESORT FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS, NOW A GHOST TOWN. MARILYN MONROE WAS THERE, JOHN WAYNE, GENE AUTRY, MARLON BRANDO LEARNED HIS LINES FROM "ON THE WATERFRONT" OUT THERE. LESTER B PEARSON WAS THERE. WE TELL THAT STORY ONLINE. ANOTHER STORY WE TELL ONLINE IS THE STORY OF DANIEL DODGE WHICH ON MANITOULIN ISLAND IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS STORIES THAT IS TOLD THERE AND THEY'RE MAKING A MOVIE OUT THERE. HE WAS THE HEIR TO THE DODGE MOTOR COMPANY FORTUNE, 1938 HE BLEW HIMSELF UP IN A DYNAMITE EXPLOSION AT HIS HUNTING LODGE AND THEN HE FELL OUT OF A BOAT ON THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL AND DROWNED. ALL THIS WHILE HE WAS ON HIS HONEYMOON. SO DANIEL WAS OBVIOUSLY HAVING A BAD DAY. THAT ALREADY IS ON VIDEO AND UPLOADED TO OUR WEBSITE. AND I DO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A DOCUMENTARY AND NARRATIVE BY STEVE PAIKIN ON THAT STORY...

Steve says TAKING A TRIP TO THE ISLAND MANY, MANY YEARS AGO FOR STUDIO TWO AND WE DID A LITTLE DOCUMENTARY ON DANNY DODGE, YOU'RE RIGHT.

Rick says YOU'RE STILL WITH US, STEVE. HISTORY DAY, THAT'S CANCELLED, BUT WE'RE PLANNING ON DOING A VIRTUAL HISTORY DAY IN KAGAWONG THIS YEAR. WE HAVE FOOTAGE TO PUT INTO THAT. AND A LOT OF CONVERSATION ABOUT VIRTUAL VIEWING IS IN THE WORKS.

Steve says SHELLEY, HOW ARE YOU REIMAGINING OR REPURPOSING YOUR MISSION NOW?

Shelley says SO WITHIN A WEEK OF THE CLOSURE, WE CREATED AGH AT HOME AND WE ALSO HAVE AGH TO LEARN. AGH AT HOME HAS TURNED OUT TO BE FAR MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN WE WOULD HAVE IMAGINED. WE HAVE HUNDREDS OF FOLKS TAKING IN, WHETHER IT'S FILMS THAT YOU CAN'T SEE ON YouTube OR NETFLIX, THE STORYTIME HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLE SUCCESS, AND THE BIGGEST SHOCK TO ME WAS, WE HAD AN ART SALE THAT REPRESENTS ABOUT 70 ARTISTS FROM THE REGION THAT WE WERE GOING TO CANCEL. WE MADE A DECISION TO PUT IT ONLINE JUST TO SUPPORT THE ARTISTS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY WERE, YOU KNOW, GETTING THAT EXPOSURE. WELL, TO MY SHOCK, YOU KNOW, WE SOLD OVER $70,000 WORTH OF ART. SO CLEARLY FOLKS ARE STUCK AT HOME AND I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THIS PANDEMIC HAS UNDERSCORED HAS BEEN THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ARTS, I THINK WHETHER IT'S GETTING LOST IN A FILM, A BOOK, MUSIC, THE ART IN YOUR HOME OR, YOU KNOW, SPENDING MORE, I THINK, REFLECTIVE ART THAT YOU SEE, WHETHER IT'S ONLINE OR ON THE WALLS, IS REALLY HAPPENING IN A BIG WAY. SO WE'RE CERTAINLY SEEING EVERYTHING WE PUT ONLINE USED IN A BIG WAY. AND THE SCHOOL BOARD HERE IN HAMILTON, STEVE, HAS JUST ENTERED AN AGREEMENT WITH US TO PURCHASE THE CURRICULUM RESOURCES THAT WE'VE CREATED TO SUPPORT THE ONLINE LEARNING THAT'S HAPPENING, OF COURSE, FOR ALL THOSE KIDS AT HOME WITH THEIR PARENTS. SO THAT'S GOING REALLY WELL AND THE STAFF ARE WORKING REALLY HARD TO KEEP POPULATING ALL OF THAT CONTENT.

Steve says LET'S HAVE A BIT OF A CONVERSATION NOW ABOUT HOW THE THREE OF YOU ARE IMAGINING SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD REOPENING, AND WE NOTE THAT, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE STATES, IN GERMANY, I THINK IN MANITOBA AS WELL, THERE ARE ALREADY CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS WHICH ARE BEGINNING TO REOPEN THEIR DOORS,OBVIOUSLY WITH NEW PROTOCOLS IN PLACE. I WONDER, SASHA, I WONDER IF YOU COULD START US OFF. HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHEN YOU CAN REOPEN AND IF AND WHEN YOU DO, ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE INTERACT WITH THE EXHIBITS?

Sasha says ABSOLUTELY. SO WE HERE ARE BOTH UNDER FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION. SO WE ARE THINKING ABOUT OPENING THIS FALL, IN FACT, AND WE'RE THINKING ABOUT THAT WITH OUR PARTNERS IN THE OTHER NATIONAL MUSEUMS IN THIS REGION. WE ARE ALSO OF COURSE THINKING ABOUT DATES THIS SUMMER, IF IT'S POSSIBLE, TO BE ABLE TO OPEN IN SOME CAPACITY. AND OF COURSE THE THING IS, THERE'S NO CERTAINTY ABOUT WHEN THAT WILL BE, AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF ACTUALLY PLANNING FOR AN EXACT DATE IS WHAT IS DRIVING EVERYBODY CRAZY. ON THE OTHER HAND, WE'VE PUT TOGETHER TWO DIFFERENT TASK FORCES, ONE THAT'S BACK TO WORK AND ONE THAT'S FOCUSED ON BACK TO BUSINESS. SO ONE THAT'S FOR STAFF AND ANOTHER THAT WILL HELP SHAPE THE EXPERIENCE FOR OUR VISITORS. AND I THINK WHAT YOU CAN IMAGINE IN THE EARLY DAYS, IF WE ARE ABLE TO OPEN SOONER THAN THE FALL, IS THAT YOU'LL HAVE LIMITED TICKETS... TIME TICKETS, FEWER PEOPLE. WE KNOW FROM THE SUCCESS THAT THEY HAD AT THE WINNIPEG ART GALLERY LAST WEEK, HAVING OPENED EARLY, THAT THERE ISN'T AS MUCH OF A DEMAND AS MAYBE THERE WAS BEFORE COVID, AND THAT THEREBY A SLOW TRICKLE IN OF AUDIENCE AS WE MOVE TOWARDS HAVING A VACCINE THAT'S WIDELY ACCEPTABLE AND AVAILABLE TO ALL. YOU CAN IMAGINE MORE HAND SANITIZER. WE WILL SUPPLY MASKS. ALL OF THAT IS WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON WITH OUR BACK-TO-BUSINESS TEAM. AND EVERY DAY WITH A LITTLE BIT MORE INFORMATION THAT TRICKLES IN FROM VARIOUS CHANNELS AND THE PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES, WE'RE ABLE TO KIND OF GIVE THAT IMAGE OF WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE WHEN WE RETURN A LITTLE BIT MORE SHAPE. BUT IT'S A TEAM EFFORT TO IMAGINE WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE FOR SURE.

Steve says YOU KNOW, I THINK NOW THAT WE'RE DOING THE PROGRAM OUT OF MY ATTIC AND IN THIS FASHION, WE'VE HAD CAMEOS FROM DOGS, CATS, CHILDREN, AND I THINK WE JUST GOT ONE FROM A BIRD IN THE BACKGROUND, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN. DID ANYONE ELSE HEAR THAT?

Rick says I HEARD IT.

Steve says THAT WAS WONDERFUL, ACTUALLY. I QUITE ENJOYED IT. SHELLEY, WHY DON'T YOU PICK UP THAT STORY. WHEN YOU REOPEN SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU IMAGINE IT HAPPENING?

Shelley says WELL, I THINK LIKE ALL THE BUSINESSES, IT'S GOING TO BE AN OPENING THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH A LOT OF RESTRICTIONS. THE POST PANDEMIC WORLD IS ONE THAT WE'RE BEGINNING TO IMAGINE. WE TOO HAVE PUT TOGETHER A TEAM THAT IS NOT ONLY GOING TO LOOK OUT FOR THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF OUR VISITORS, BUT ALSO OUR STAFF, OUR STAKEHOLDERS. SO THAT'S BEGUN. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO OPEN? MUCH LIKE RICK AND SASHA, IS IT GOING TO BE THE SUMMER? IS IT GOING TO BE THE FALL? WE WILL BE LOOKING TO OUR PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS TO FIND OUT WHEN THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. BUT CERTAINLY I THINK THE EXPERIENCE IS GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT ONE. I THINK, YOU KNOW, NONE OF US... I'VE BEEN IN THIS BUSINESS FOR 30 YEARS. NONE OF US HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS BEFORE AND THERE ARE NO MANUALS. THERE'S LOTS OF MUSEUM PLANNING MANUALS BUT I'VE NEVER SEEN ONE FOR A PANDEMIC. SO WHAT IS THE MUSEUM EXPERIENCE GOING TO LOOK LIKE WHEN WE REOPEN? IT'S GOING TO BE FASCINATING, BECAUSE I AGREE WITH THE OTHERS, IT'S GOING TO BE, YOU KNOW, TIMED ENTRIES, IT'S GOING TO BE LIMITED AMOUNTS OF FOLKS IN THE GALLERIES. AND I THINK... ONE OF MY CONCERNS IS, OUR GALLERY HERE IS VERY MUCH A COMMUNITY HUB AND WE HAVE WORKED REALLY HARD THESE LAST FEW YEARS TO BRING OUR ATTENDANCE UP AND WE HAVE, YOU KNOW, BIG AUDIENCES NOW AND MOREDIVERSE AUDIENCES, HOW ARE E GOING TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER WHEN WE HAVE TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF FOLKS THAT CAN COME IN. SO I SUSPECT THESE WILL BE QUIETER REFLECTIVE TIMES IN OUR ORGANIZATIONS AS WE LIMIT THE AMOUNT THAT CAN COME IN, UNTIL THERE'S A SOLUTION TO THE PANDEMIC.

Steve says WELL, AND, RICK, IN SOME RESPECTS IT'S AN EVEN BIGGER PROBLEM FOR YOU, BECAUSE THESE OTHER TWO CURATORS HAVE QUITE VAST PREMISES. YOURS IS A VERY SMALL, INTIMATE MUSEUM, AND, FOR EXAMPLE, PRACTISING PHYSICAL DANCING WOULD BE A CHALLENGE AT THE OLD MILL. HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT HOW YOU'D HANDLE THAT OR WHETHER YOU'D HAVE TO HAND OUT MASKS TO PEOPLE AS THEY COME IN? ANY OF THOSE KIND OF ISSUES?

Rick says LIKE SHELLEY AND SASHA, WE'RE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE THINGS OUT HERE AT THE OLD MILL. AGAIN, WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE GOVERNMENT... PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT TO LOOSEN UP THE REGULATIONS. WE'RE NOT AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE, SO EXPECT US TO BE THE LAST TO OPEN UP. AND WHEN WE DO OPEN UP, WE'RE GOING TO BE GUIDED BY THE HEALTH OFFICIALS, WHEN WE DO IT, AND WE'LL BE IN CONSULTATION WITH THE MUNICIPALITY WHO WE REPORT TO, THE MUSEUM BOARD WILL CONSULT WITH THEM, ON HOW WE DO IT. BECAUSE WHEN WE DO DO IT, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE SAFE AND THE PEOPLE THAT COME IN, OUR VISITORS, WHAT LITTLE THERE WILL BE OF THEM THIS SUMMER, ARE SAFE. YOU KNOW, WE DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS YET. BUT WE HAVE A LOT OF SMART PEOPLE ON THE MUSEUM COMMITTEE AND THE MUNICIPALITY THAT ARE GOING TO GET THIS DONE. I WOULD LIKE TO ASK EVERYBODY, IF I COULD, TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSEUM. WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE, WE HAVE SEVERAL MUSEUMS ON MANITOULIN ISLAND AND WE HAVE WONDERFUL MUSEUMS ACROSS THE PROVINCE AND I'D JUST ASK PEOPLE TO SUPPORT YOUR... DURING THIS TIME, TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSEUMS, MAKE A DONATION. THAT WOULD BE GREAT. AND I ALSO WANT TO THANK ALL THE FRONT LINE WORKERS THAT ARE TAKING ON THIS VIRUS AND TRYING TO SAVE LIVES AT THEIR OWN RISK. MUSEUMS, WE'RE GOING TO END UP OKAY. WE JUST WANT EVERYBODY TO BE SAFE.

Steve says VERY WELL SAID, RICK. WE'VE GOT A COUPLE OF MINUTES LEFT HERE, SASHA, AND I WONDER IF I COULD PREVAIL UPON YOU AT THIS TIME TO TALK A BIT ABOUT... I MEAN, IF YOU GO TO GALLERIES AROUND THE WORLD, THERE IS SOME PHENOMENAL ART THAT EMERGES FROM TRAGEDY, FROM PANDEMICS, FROM WORLD-CHANGING EVENTS. AND I WONDER IF YOU'VE PUT YOUR HEAD TO THE NOTION OF WHAT KIND OF ART IS GOING TO EMERGE FROM WHAT WE'RE GOING THROUGH RIGHT NOW?

Sasha says THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION. PERSONALLY I'M A MEDIEVALIST. THAT'S THE WORK I DID AS A GRADUATE STUDENT. IN FACT, MOST OF MY STUDIES HAVE BEEN ON ART THAT COMES OUT OF VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TIMES HISTORICALLY. I'M TALKING ABOUT THE PLAGUE THAT HIT ITALY IN THE MID 1340s, AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT DECIMATED ACADEMICALLY, WE CAN IMAGINE THAT, YOU KNOW, IT DECIMATED A THIRD OF THAT POPULATION. WE COULDN'T WRAP OUR HEADS AROUND THAT REALISTICALLY. BUT THIS EXPERIENCE NOW IS THAT BRIDGE. AND THERE WERE VERY DIFFICULT TIMES AFTER THE PLAGUE CAME TO ITALY. BUT THINGS SOMEHOW REVVED UP AND YOU HAD THE BIRTH OF THE HIGH RENAISSANCE. YOU KNOW, THIS IS THE PERIOD FOLLOWING THE PLAGUE IS WHEN YOU HAVE THE EMERGENCE OF MICHELANGELO AND RAPHAEL AND THESE PEOPLE HAVE COME TO DEFINE THE HISTORY OF ART. SO IT WOULD BE A REALLY BOLD STATEMENT FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO GUESS WHAT WILL COME OUT OF THIS TIME, BUT I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT ARTISTS REMAIN ROOTED IN THEIR PRACTICE, DETERMINED TO BE IN THIS MOMENT, AND TO BE EXPRESSING THEIR RESPONSE TO THIS MOMENT IN THEIR OWN ART, AND WE WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THIS IN THE DECADES TO FOLLOW THIS EXPERIENCE. SO THE FACT THAT IT'S A GLOBAL EXPERIENCE I THINK IS REALLY ALSO PROFOUND. IT'S GOING TO BE A GLOBAL REFLECTION ON THIS MOMENT, NOT JUST ONE UNIQUE TO ITALY OR TO NORTHERN EUROPE. IT'S ONE THAT WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE ABLE TO RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER, AND I THINK THAT WILL BE UNITING EXPERIENCE TO REFLECT ON THOSE WORKS OF ART.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin, Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says WELL, I KNOW I SPEAK FOR MANY WHEN I SAY, I CAN'T WAIT TO GET BACK INSIDE THE DOORS OF ALL OF YOUR INSTITUTIONS AND SEE WHAT GREAT THINGS YOU HAVE IN STORE FOR US. THANKS FOR COMING ONTO TVO TONIGHT AND SHARING YOUR VIEWS. SASHA SUDA FROM THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA; SHELLEY FALCONER FROM THE ART GALLERY OF HAMILTON; RICK NELSON FROM THE OLD MILL HERITAGE CENTRE. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, INCIDENTALLY, TO THE OLD MILL. HE WAS IN WELLINGTON, PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY TODAY. THANKS, YOU THREE.

Sasha says THANK YOU ALL. GOOD LUCK, EVERYBODY.

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