SANTO DOMINGO – Museums in the Dominican Republic will begin receiving visitors again from Wednesday after being closed to the public since March on account of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Entry to the museums will be free on weekends, Deputy Minister of Heritage Gamal Michelen Stefan said at an event held at the Museum of the Royal Houses located in the Colonial district of Santo Domingo, where attendees were greeted by people wearing period costumes.
The second most-visited museum in the country, the Museum of the Royal Houses received 107,634 people in 2019.
The museum was used as a Royal Audience of the city of Santo Domingo, built by the orders of Fernando the Catholic in the 16th century.
The most-visited historical space in the Dominican Republic is the Alcazar de Colon, a 16th century Gothic and Renaissance-style palace that was the residence of Diego Colon, son of Christopher Columbus.
Some 183,588 people visited the Alcazar de Colon Museum last year, according to culture ministry data.
Outside the colonial district of Santo Domingo, in Puerto Plata, is the Fortress of San Felipe, also from the 16th century although built a few decades later to defend the northern coast of the island of Hispaniola.
It is the third most-visited monument in the country, welcoming 72,652 people in 2019.
“I hope that these doors that open again, with the required protocol, can host many people, especially students,” Culture Minister Carmen Heredia said at the event, which also had music, dance and painting performances.
The country’s museums are most frequented by foreign visitors, followed by students, according to the ministry’s data.
The Dominican Republic, which had kept its borders closed between March 19 and June 30, has lifted restrictions on certain leisure activities but the authorities had not decided to reopen museums until now.
In May, when the country was placed under lockdown by the previous administration, the culture ministry announced the setting up of a website with access to nine museums with the aim of providing an alternative to families during the quarantine period.