How are museums responding to COVID19?

Here is a loose collection of discoveries about museums around the world, resulting from a brows-and-search exercise. There was no specific target other than getting a feel for how museums around the world are reacting to the COVID19 pandemic. We may add to it if we make interesting discoveries, but we’ll have to see. Thank you to those who contributed – you know who you are 🙂

Initial/Physical Response

  • Most institutions shutting doors until April-May, or indefinitely.
  • Some continue very limited admission (not advisable).
  • Some retain back-of-house staff, which allows them to engage more easily via social media as they work on projects (conservation, exhibits, etc.).
  • Regarding finances: some institutions are asking whether cancelled events would be willing to donate (at least partially), rather than refund $. Unfortunately, best case seems to be to wait/hope for government grants.
  • Many museums have been rapid collecting, and asking people to record/share their experiences during the pandemic:

Digital Transition

  • China, hit first by the epidemic, has curated ~50 online exhibits, accessible via their cultural heritage website: This includes everything from video to interactive websites to google street view.
  • Social media presence has increased(?) For example, #musuemfrom(at)home, #museummomentofzen, #localmuseumsunite and #colourourcollections have been trending; these are possible bandwagons to jump on.
  • The Smithsonian’s Learning Lab (@SmithsonianLab) is very on top of their virtual engagement/education right now.
    • See their “create collections” capability.

Resources for the Present

Planning for the Future