ICOM publishes follow-up report: Museums, museum professionals and COVID-19

COVID-19. Image: MiroslavaChrienova Pixabay CC0

In May 2020, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) published the report “Museums, museum professionals and COVID-19”. To gather further information and additional data on how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is impacting and will affect the museum sector in the short and long term, ICOM launched a second survey. The follow-up report analyses almost 900 responses from museums and museum professionals across five continents, which were collected between 7 September and 18 October 2020.

It is important to underline that, shortly after the closure of the survey, Europe began to experience a second wave of generalised lockdowns.

Some key findings are:

  • Compared to April 2020, the situation for museums in September-October 2020 was much more variable depending on their location in the world:most museums in Europe and Asia were open, the majority were closed in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the situation in the other regions was mixed.
  • Museums continued to enhance their digital activities. All the categories analysed by the survey increased in at least 15% of the world’s museums, a figure that rises to almost 50% if we consider channels such as social media, livestreaming events or online educational programmes. Notably, the percentage of museums that started a new media channel increased for every activity considered compared to April.
  • Almost all museums around the world will likely have to reduce their resources and activities as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. 30.9% will downsize their permanent staff; this percentage will rise to 46.1% for freelance and temporary contracts. Although participants seem less worried about the reduction in exhibitions (62.4%) and public programmes (67.4%) than they did in April (82.6%), the figure is still unsettling. The percentage of respondents who think that their museum will close permanently falls from 12.8 to 6.1%, but more than 50% of participants think that their institution will have to operate with reduced opening hours.

Read the first report here and the follow-up report here.

Source: ICOM.

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