The Red & Black

COVID-19 and Its Threat to Museums

All museums have been impacted to some extent, yet certain types are expected to struggle more than others. It is likely that static museums will be impacted less severely than their interactive counterparts. As cities and towns are slowly starting to reopen, so will museums. They will begin by permitting only a select number of attendees at a time, and requiring individuals to keep a safe distance away from each other.

The museums that have not been impacted by the pandemic are government-funded museums. Once the COVID-19 situation has come to an end, they will have endured no financial hardships. Unfortunately for the small section of museums that are not government funded, the future looks less clear and will certainly be different.

The synergistic-style museums, that are taking the hardest hit, are financed publicly. Their ‘wow factor,’ the thing that draws customers to buy tickets, is now being jeopardized by COVID-19. Due to the virus, places like Boston Children’s Museum have to close all of their interactive exhibits. As a result, almost the entire museum is closed. Given that the most compelling elements of these museums are their interactive exhibits, the cost that these closures come with, is clear.

In response to this, certain museums are shifting to a primarily online setting. Although it may not be the same experience, learning and exploration can still take place. The use of interactive online tools could serve as an effective bridge between safety and education for museums. But the future of these museums is still unclear. Who is to say that the online interactive courses provided will be enough to withstand these turbulent times?