More than a tenth of museums may be closed permanently

The coronavirus outbreak has spread around the world, bringing museum activities to a standstill. In April, in particular, almost all museums around the world closed their doors.

More than one in 10 museum workers worldwide expects their institution to close permanently due to the outbreak according to the research by International Council of Museums (ICOM).

“The report has analysed almost 1,600 responses from museums and museum professionals, in 107 countries and across continents, which were collected between 7 April and 7 May, 2020,”the ICOM reported.

Five topics were covered in the survey: the current situation for museums and staff, predicted economic impact, digital and communication, museum security and conservation of collections, freelancer museum professionals.

According to the survey, nearly half of the respondents said their museums had their own accounts on social media or online collections databases before the closure, and at least 15 percent had increased their online activities during the outbreak.

While 84 percent of the museums surveyed are still telecommuting, 82.6 percent of those surveyed believe that exhibition programs will have to be reduced in the future, and 12.8 percent fear that the museums they work in May close.

“Museums, as key protagonists in local development and as incomparable places for people to meet and learn, will have an important role to play in rebuilding the local economy and repairing the social fabric of affected communities,” ICOM said, calling on policymakers around the world to urgently allocate relief funds to help museums and their professionals survive the crisis.