Arts & Entertainment

Pandemic casts dark shadow over International Museum Day

Madrid, May 17 (EFE).- This year’s International Museum Day reflects the industry’s crisis after the coronavirus pandemic forced museums around the world to close their doors.

Normally a festive affair, this year’s edition, marked on May 18, carries the title The Future of Museums: Recovering and Reimagining, an indication of the challenges that lay ahead for the industry as the world emerges from the pandemic.

With restrictions still in place in many countries, nearly half of the world’s museums remain closed, according to the International Council of Museums.

Those who have reopened, including museums in France, England, Italy and Spain, are optimistic although expect recovery to be slow.

Museums are struggling to find new models to attract the public and find sustainable business solutions in an unstable environment. Furthermore, heavily dependent on tourism, museums fear the losses will continue until tourism fully recovers.

The world’s largest museums lost 75% of their visitors and millions of euros. The famous Uffizi Gallery in Florence lost 30 million euros ($36m) during the pandemic. The National Gallery in London about 16.2 million euros and the Tate galleries across the UK over 65 million euros.

The Italian Ministry of Culture recorded a 75.6% decrease in visitors and loss of 189.7 million euros.

Germany’s Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation estimates Berlin’s museums lost close to 1.5 million euros per month in revenue.

The crisis spread beyond Europe. The Tretyakov Art Gallery in Moscow lost 55% of revenue compared to 2019, and museums across Japan lost 59% of their revenue.

In an era of desperation, museums have expanded their horizons and tried to find their place in the digital space. But with unequal access to the internet, it created a further disparity between the success of museums in different countries.

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