One-Third Of U.S. Museums May Not Survive The Year, Survey Finds

The Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City, Calif., closed completely in June. “For now, given the unprecedented health crisis we face, the Annenberg Foundation will continue to place its primary focus on helping to support those affected by COVID-19,” founder Wallis Annenberg wrote on the time. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Annenberg Space for Photography conceal caption

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Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Annenberg Space for Photography

The Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City, Calif., closed completely in June. “For now, given the unprecedented health crisis we face, the Annenberg Foundation will continue to place its primary focus on helping to support those affected by COVID-19,” founder Wallis Annenberg wrote on the time.

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Annenberg Space for Photography

Museums seem to be immortal locations, with their august countenances and treasured holdings. Even in our TikTok period of diminishing consideration spans, they draw greater than 850 million guests a 12 months within the U.S., in accordance with the American Alliance of Museums.

But the coronavirus was not impressed, and the results of the pandemic-related shutdown on the nation’s museums have been dire, says AAM President and CEO Laura Lott. In a survey launched Wednesday of 760 museum administrators, 33% of them stated there was both a “significant risk” of closing completely by subsequent fall or that they did not know if their establishments would survive.

“There’s a large public perception that museums rely on government support, when the reality is they get only a quarter of their funding from the government,” Lott tells NPR.

Ticket and present store gross sales, faculty journeys and museum occasions are major sources of funding, she says, “most of which went to zero overnight when they were all shuttered.”

The establishments surveyed ranged from aquariums to botanical gardens to science facilities. More than 40% of them had been historical past museums, historic homes and historic societies, whereas artwork museums represented lower than 25%.

Their annual budgets ranged from lower than $50,000 to greater than $10 million, however in accordance with AAM, the overwhelming majority stated they’d solely 12 months or much less of economic working reserves, with greater than half having lower than six months left to cowl operations.

“Museums support 726,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute $50 billion each year to the economy. Of the museums able to reopen, over 40% plan to do so with reduced staff and will need to spend additional funds to ensure their ability to reopen safely,” AAM stated in an announcement.

Most museums are loath to promote even elements of their assortment – in spite of everything, Lott factors out, that is why they exist. And generally they are not allowed to.

A shuttered Oregon motor sports activities museum, World of Speed, introduced its everlasting closure earlier this 12 months and stated on its web site that every one belongings and funds could be distributed to not-for revenue museums and colleges over the following a number of months, as required by Oregon legislation. “Perhaps the museum’s greatest accomplishment was the opportunity it provided high school students to learn the skills needed to work in the automotive industry,” the web site stated. “What a thrill it was to see these students grow and move onto fulfilling careers after graduation.”

Most of the museums surveyed made a degree of offering academic assets to college students in the course of the lockdown. But these are exactly the type of companies that may have to be lower within the finances crunch forward, in accordance with nearly two-thirds of museum administrators.

A majority of museums that took half within the AAM survey may have reopened by the top of July, Lott says. They present respite from the cares of the world, inspiration and a way of group id, she observes. “But when they’re gone,” she says, “they won’t be easily replaced.”

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