"We are temporarily closing down the museums to ensure the safety of visitors and avoid unnecessary impact due to the COVID-19 infection," the ministry's director general of culture, Hilmar Farid, noted in a statement, received in Jakarta, Tuesday.
Despite the restriction being in place, the ministry has suggested tourists and students to visit the online-based museum platform on the Google Arts and Culture's website and application. Indonesia's museums and art galleries have been featured on Google's website and application since October 2016.
Google Arts & Culture, powered by a US multinational tech company Google LLC, is an online platform for high-resolution images of artworks, heritages, and national treasures of international museums worldwide. The platform, accessible on laptops and smartphones, allows users to undertake a virtual tour of museums and arts galleries through Google's Street View technology.
"Visitors can access some of our museums, including the Sangiran Museum, where ancient fossils of humans and other relics are displayed; as well as the National Museum of Indonesia; the Borobudur Temple; the Prambanan Temple; and the Ratu Boko Temple. All these locations can be viewed through a 360-degree virtual tour," Farid explained while referring to some features available in the application.
Apart from historic sites under the ministry's directorate general, the online-based platform also features other arts galleries and museums, including the Jakarta Textile Museum, Arts and Ceramics Museum, Batik Gallery, the National Monument, and archives of the Yogyakarta Biennale Foundation, and Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) in Bali.
"The ministry is optimistic that academic activities at museums and arts galleries would not be disrupted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We are hopeful that following the temporary closure of schools and museums, students would find more interesting ways to learn about the country's cultures," Farid added, citing that the ministry had also announced that people can interact with the ministry's directorate general of culture on its official account @budayasaya available in Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Amid a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients, the Jakarta provincial government has also closed dozens of museums, historical sites, and art galleries from March 14 to March 29 to curb the spread of the infection.
Related news: Indonesia trade surplus touches US$2.34 billion in February
Related news: VP defers work visits outside Jakarta for subsequent fortnight
EDITED BY INE