— First I would like to know was it difficult to prepare an exhibition during the lockdown, how did it all happen?
Hilkka Hiiop: Sounds incredible, but we can't say that the Pandemic significantly hindered the preparation of the exhibition. Most of our active investigation campaigns — the research of Christian Ackermann's oeuvre — was done before the lockdown. When everything closed down, we had already focused on the analytical part and written texts for Ackermann's exhibition and on finalizing the monograph about the master's life, works, and meanings for later centuries.
Tiina-Mall Kreem: It is also true that Covid-19 has made the Ackermann exhibition even more important for the Art Museum of Estonia than it had been before the pandemic. Namely, the Art Museum of Estonia has been focused very much onto exhibitions with big and attractive loans from abroad last years, but due to the lockdown, it was not possible anymore. So, the museum was forced to focus more on the exhibitions that introduce and show local artistic heritage. Even more national tourism became suddenly important. And now, when the Covid-19 has started to spread aggressively again, the local people as visitors are especially important to the museum, they are actually the only hope for every museum.
Hilkka Hiiop: Still, of course, Covid-19 had also some negative impact on the preparation of our exhibition as well. For example, the conservation of one of Ackermann's most beautiful works — the crucifix of the Koeru church — was hindered seriously. Conservators simply couldn't do their work as actively as planned because the crucifix was brought from the church to the conservation studio of the Estonian Academy of Arts, but the Academy was closed due to the Pandemic. So, I as the employer of the Academy was the only one allowed to enter and was left all alone with the Christ in the empty house of the Academy.
Tiina-Mall Kreem: This made the work schedule tight. And now when it seems, that we will be ready with the show on time, the problem of Covid-19 is even more acute problem as it was in the spring. We do not know what will happen in the near future and whether people will dare to visit museums or not.