National Survey of COVID-19 Impact on United States Museums

National Survey of COVID-19 Impact on United States Museums

With financial reserves growing scarce as a result of COVID-related closures, one out of three U.S. museums may be forced to shutter permanently, a survey fielded in June by the American Alliance of Museums finds. Based on responses from seven hundred and sixty museum directors, the National Survey of COVID-19 Impact on United States Museums found that 33 percent said there was "a significant risk of [the] museum closing permanently in the next sixteen months, absent additional financial relief" (16 percent) or they "didn't know" whether they would survive (17 percent). Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) of the museums had twelve months or less of operating reserves on hand, including more than half (56 percent) with less than six months of reserves. And while three in four museums were providing virtual educational programs, experiences, and curricula, 64 percent were anticipating having to make cuts in their programming or other services. According to the survey, 39 percent of museums do not have a target date for reopening and 56 percent had not laid off or furloughed staff. Of the respondents that have laid off staff, slightly more than a third (35 percent) had cut headcount up to 20 percent, one out of five (21 percent) had cut between 21 percent and 40 percent, and a quarter (25 percent) had cut between 41 and 60 percent. The survey also found that 30 percent of respondents expected to see their operating income fall by up to 20 percent in 2020, while 37 percent anticipated losses of between 21 percent and 40 percent and 22 percent were looking at losses of between 41 percent and 60 percent.