As we saw in Europeana’s Masks and head coverings gallery, masks are as old as humankind and have been used for protection, ceremony, tradition and fashion. But the Covid-19 crisis has triggered a renaissance of masks, and two Serbian museums have recently launched the production of fashionable and comfortable masks based on their collections.
The National Museum in Belgrade (NMB) was closed to visitors between 16 March to 22 April. The Museum then opened its doors again, but with certain conditions: all visitors have to pass a disinfecting area and disinfect their hands at the museum entrance, and body temperature readings are mandatory both for employees and visitors. Finally, face masks are compulsory - but it is now possible to buy beautiful masks based on the museum's collections in the museum shop.
Biljana Djordjević, PhD, Museum Advisor, Head of Documentation Department and Museum Shop Manager at NMB tells us about it: ’Gordana Grabež, executive director in NMB, is responsible for the production of masks inspired by the NMB collection. Her first idea was to equip our staff with the appropriate masks, so we have given two masks to each museum employee and the rest are being sold in the museum shop. Since launching the masks, they have been extremely well received and are in high demand: each collection is sold out in two days after appearing in the shop.’
‘They are very comfortable to wear and can be used repeatedly, as they are made of special washable paper. At a price of 1.70 EUR, they’re affordable for the general public. The National Museum, as a socially responsible institution, made a policy not to earn money on this product, but to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of wearing masks in this challenging time. At the same time, the National Museum is educating citizens via captions of the art works on the masks, because people normally prefer to know what is on their face! We’re using around 40 motifs now, and also have four designs for children’s masks.’