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Covid-19 Prompts Europe’s Museums to Take Proactive Action

© ZOOM Kindermuseum, Vienna. Image: Alexandra Eizinger

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that forced people to stay home also led museums in Europe to think out of the box. In efforts to redefine the museum experience, more than 650 museums from 41 countries participated in a survey carried out by the Network of European Museum Organizations (NEMO) explaining what actions they’ve taken to reach out to the public, address losses, and revise strategies.

According to the findings, museums at popular tourist destinations have seen up to an 80 percent decline in revenue as a result of plummeting ticket, shop and café sales as well as of other services. Indicatively, large museums have suffered losses of up to 600,000 euros per week as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, while 30 percent of the participating museums have seen revenue drop by 1,000 euros.

Source: NEMO

In efforts to find innovative ways to boost revenue, over 60 percent of museums participating in the survey said they have boosted their online presence offering a variety of services including offering virtual tours and online exhibitions during the #stayathome period with many set on offering podcasts soon.

Indicatively, 41 percent of the study’s museums have seen online visitation rise by as much as 20 percent per week, with 38 percent seeing a 50 percent rise and 13 percent experiencing an increase of up to 500 percent in week due to lockdown activity. Austria, Romania and Spain museums reported the largest increases in terms of web traffic.

Source: NEMO

Additionally, 70 percent of museums polled also said they had begun to tap into social media with 80 percent turning to Facebook and 20 percent to Instagram.

At the same time, museum organizations appear to also be playing a more active social role boosting their social responsibility actions including donating masks for coronavirus efforts.

Source: NEMO

In terms of employment, the majority said they had not laid off staff but had proceeded with reassignments. The same organizations were also the first to launch new online services.

With regard to the situation in Greece, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said a relevant study on the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis on the cultural sector would be carried out by the ministry with results expected at the end of the year.

The Acropolis Museum © Maria Theofanopoulou

The Acropolis Museum, Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

In view of the fact that over 82 percent of Europeans are currently online, NEMO underlined the importance of culture and is urging governments at all levels to invest in Europe’s museums in efforts to mitigate the losses and to support unity.

The NEMO project is ongoing and all museum organizations – private or public – are encouraged to offer feedback.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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