Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

NEMO’s initial figures on European museum

Survey on the impact of the COVID-19 situation on museums in Europe, Network of European Museum Organisations, April 2020

Findings and Recommendations

Culture gains importance in uncertain times of crises, it brings us together. We are seeing an unprecedented creative digital use and engagement with and through culture in the world.

The majority of museums in Europe and around the globe are closed. Closing doors to the public results in a drastic loss of income for many museums. While some museums have found their budget minimally impacted as of yet, some museums, especially the larger museums and the museums in touristic areas, have reported a loss of income of 75-80%, with weekly losses adding up to hundreds of thousands of Euros.

There is no fast track back to normal – rather than making a return to normal our goal, we must learn from this crisis in order to effectively respond, mitigate, adapt and integrate. We urge governments to invest in Europe’s cultural heritage in the future, to support what binds us together, while so many other things drive us apart. Museums might not change the world, but museums at their best can show what humanity can do at its best.

NEMO asks for adequate support provided by European, national, regional and local bodies to mitigate losses of museums all over Europe, to guarantee salaries of staff members, and to continue the investment in large-scale projects in museums across Europe.

Museums have been quick and pro-active in their response to the pandemic. They have shifted their focus to addressing needs within their communities in this situation. From donating masks and gloves to hospitals, to collecting objects and stories of people to preserve and learn from this moment, increasing digital services, sharing collections, offering digital tools, and increasing digital services to engage and comfort people staying at home.

In these times, digital cultural heritage is contributing to people’s enjoyment and creativity more than ever. NEMO wants museums and stakeholders to acknowledge that the digital museum is not a distant promise or a source of untapped potential, rather that digital cultural heritage and digital engagement has demonstrated its value in the past weeks by bringing people together, encouraging creativity, sharing experiences, and offering a virtual space to build ideas together.

NEMO asks stakeholders to increase their digital efforts in the future, following this period of extreme measures with unprecedented digital activity. Budgets and strategies should respond to these findings, take advantage of current efforts and allow for investments in digital offers, services and infrastructures in the future. Allowing digital services and activities of museums and the engagement of digital audiences as factors of success in assessment frameworks is proving more important every day.

Museums and society at large are obliged to work for stronger crisis awareness, preparedness, control and response methods in the future, including emergency plans for both the public and internal work processes. New working methods in museums that have been sparked by this crisis should be considered for future, more flexible work methods in the museums in general.

Read the full Findings and Recommendations here.

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