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Visitors throng reopened Aboa Vetus, Ars Nova

Published : 23 Jul 2020, 03:25

  DF Report by Gishnizjani Golnar

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova. DF Photo.

It is Sunday afternoon, the sun is shining, and Finns are enjoying unrestricted gathering in this time of coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants along the river are all crowded, outer seats of the cafes are full, and in the meantime, a building with a special architectural design attracts the attention of pedestrians – this building is a place for families and different age groups. We are talking about Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova in the heart of Turku, a meeting point for everyone, a museum that reminds the history and heritage of Turku as well as new art.

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova is a museum with two parts. The archaeological section is located underground that displays a 600-year-old area and the public can see six medieval stone-built houses, besides other archaeological attractions. Two other floors belong to contemporary art exhibition of Finnish and international artists. All this, along with the existence of shops and cafes have made this place attractive to the residents of and travellers to Turku.

“Approximately 62,000 visitors come to the museum a year. However, this year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the museum had remained closed from mid- March until the end of June and undoubtedly it affected the total number of visitors,” said Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Curator Silja Lehtonen. “Despite normal excursionists, the museum missed the important season of school group visits in May,” added Lehtonen. She, however, said, “We have already experienced memorable moments by the time of reopening the museum on the 30th of June; it was a pleasure to see the queue of history and art enthusiasts.

The museum’s bustle in the afternoon of the last day of the week shows that its reopening has made visitors happy as well. A couple who came to the museum at the suggestion of their 12-year-old son said they have had a great time there and it was an interesting experience for their son. This teenage boy also described his passion about the history. He said he highly recommends this place to his friends and thinks it would be more exciting if the museum adds a virtual reality part or touchable surfaces to enable the visitors understand more deeply what life was like in the past in this ancient city.

An archaeology student who was visiting the museum with her family said every archaeology student should come to this museum at least once, since there are many things to investigate, adding that next time she will visit the museum alone to inspect all the details carefully. In response to the question what brought them to Abo Vetus & Ars Nova, a group of young women said the museum is a meeting point for them before the pandemic. “We used to come here occasionally, and now with the easing of restrictions, we decided to renew our fond memories of this environment.”

It seemed most visitors feel safe in terms of health in the museum. Lehtonen said, “To ensure the safety of our visitors’ health after reopening of the museum, we have increased the rounds of cleaning a day and removed hands-on activities and interactions, particularly for children.” She said “All general health guidelines, such as hand hygiene and social distancing are being strictly observed in the museum. The curator also said, “Regardless of the changes that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to the museum’s routine activities, we normally have different audience groups in each of the seasons – the summer, especially from July to August, is a busy period with tourists coming from all around the world, the spring belongs to school group visiting, and in the winter season, people from close by and families are the target groups. This summer we are going to experience a different season and predictably domestic tourism will be this summer’s trend in Finland.”