The closure of museums and galleries due to the Covid-19 crisis has been a blow to their means of existence: to ticket sales, exhibitions, shops and cafés, and much more.
Many are charities, or receive no public funding, or rely on the support of volunteers. Against the spiralling costs of keeping collections and buildings safe through closure, and now the financial implications of reopening safely, museums are facing real danger: to the care of their collections and their workforce, and, for some, to their continued survival.
With the help of our supporters and members, for over 100 years Art Fund has enabled UK museums to save and share works of art for everyone to enjoy. Now our support is needed to help them counter this new threat.
We’ve been speaking to museums, galleries and heritage collections around the UK to understand the impact of the crisis on their work and institutions. Over half of respondents to our survey told us that they are fearful for the future of their organisation without urgent support.
Museums are eager to reconnect with their visitors and local communities. But safety measures such as queuing systems, improved ventilation and limits around visitor capacity come at huge financial cost – and this is alongside the financial challenge of bringing staff back from furlough.
The impact of this nationwide is likely to damage the cultural landscape of the UK for years to come.
What we can do
We cannot solve this crisis alone, but together we can make a real difference.
Museums are reaching out for help to adapt to new ways of working – from focusing on provisions for schools and young people, to running local community outreach projects.
Alongside vitally needed government aid, Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine programme can help museums and galleries to adapt and thrive, and be ready to welcome everyone back safely when we need them most.
How our Respond and Reimagine grants are helping museums across the UK