90%, this is the rate of museums forced to close across the world because of Covid-19, that is to say about 85,000 places. Throughout the coronavirus epidemic, half the world population has been put on lockdown and the gathering of people in closed spaces such as museums led to their closure for health safety.
This Monday May 18, 2020, UNESCO and ICOM (International Council of Museums) made the best of International Museum Day to assess the situation of these cultural places and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their activity. Two investigations have been conducted with member states give a worrying assessment for the cultural world.
If 90% of the museums across the world had to close for safety reasons, 13% of them might not ever reopen again, which is over a museum in ten. “the museum field cannot survive on its own without the support of the public and private sectors. It is imperative to raise emergency relief funds and to put in place policies to protect professionals and self-employed workers on precarious contracts” ICOM president Suay Aksoy explains.
During lockdown, many of them chose to go digital and offered online exhibitions and tours. A clever way to keep a bond with the cultural field in these unprecedented times that unfortunately is not at everyone’s reach: the assess shows that in Africa and in small and emerging island states, 5% of museums only have been able to develop online contents for their public. “This pandemic also reminds us that half of humanity does not have access to digital technologies. We must work to promote access to culture for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and isolated” UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay says.