Coronavirus has affected museums in various ways, whether it’s forcing them to close, making them come up with ways to exhibit artists’ work online or providing them with material for future exhibitions. But the long-term effects of pandemic-related shutdowns are now revealing themselves. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) reported yesterday that one out of three museums in the U.S. may shut down permanently due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Collected throughout the month of June, the data found that 33 percent of museum directors believed there was a “significant risk” of closing permanently and didn’t know if their institutions would survive. This information reveals that COVID-19-related damages are more dire than earlier projected. The survey included responses from more than 750 museum directors in the U.S. and drew on a broad range of museums, like historical societies, art museums and arboretums.
The new findings showed that 87 percent of museums have 12 months or less remaining in their operating reserves and 56 percent have enough to operate for less than six months. A total of 37 percent of respondents expected to lose 21 to 40 percent of their operating income this year, while 64 percent predicted cuts in education, programming and other public services due to budget cuts. Of the museums surveyed, children’s museums and science centers were at the greatest risk. “They’re very reliant on ticket income and very tactile,” Laura Lott, President and CEO of AAM explained.
One positive finding from the survey showed that 75 percent of museum directors were able to provide virtual educational resources to students, parents and teachers while their institutions were closed, and 64 percent provided entertainment and other activities. “The bright spot is that museums leapt into action in March and found ways to deliver on their mission,” said Lott. Museums are now pressing for funding from federal, state and local governments this year to help with the crisis. “Money from public and private sources is crucial to saving the museum field,” added Lott.
To check out the survey results for yourself, head to the American Alliance of Museums’ website.
Elsewhere in the art world, almost 50 artists from across the globe are working together to raise funds to protect the Amazon rainforest.