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.