Artists & Creatives
COVID-19 Recovery Resource Platform

Artists & Creatives
COVID-19 Recovery Resource Platform

Museums, museum professionals and Covid-19: third survey

This third ICOM global survey, which was open from 15 April to 29 May 2021, investigated a scenario which is certainly still a crisis, but which is also increasingly being described as 'the new normal'.

One year and a half into the Covid-19 pandemic, the museum sector is still trying to grasp its long-term consequences, while facing the challenges of reopening with social distancing restrictions in place.


The first ICOM report, published just over a year ago, presented a dire situation for museums and museum professionals around the world. With almost 95% of institutions forced to close in order to safeguard the wellbeing of staff and visitors, the sector was facing severe economic, social and cultural repercussions.

The second survey, conducted in early autumn 2020, presented a much more varied situation for museums, with stark regional differences in terms of opening rates and economic impact. One of the most interesting figures, which has often been the focus of discussions about the sector and Covid-19, has been the massive shift to digital activities.
This trend, which increased sharply between the first two surveys, raised questions about the maturity and sustainability of these practices in the future.


With the aim of analysing the evolution of this and other key developments in the museum sector, ICOM has launched a third survey, one year after the publication of the first one. This survey, which was open from 15 April to 29 May 2021, investigated a scenario which is certainly still a crisis, but which is also increasingly being described as ‘the new normal’.

Read the first, second, and third reports.

ICOM is a membership association and a non-governmental organisation which establishes professional and ethical standards for museum activities. As forum of experts, it makes recommendations on issues related to cultural heritage, promotes capacity building and advances knowledge. ICOM is the voice of museum professionals on international stage and raises public cultural awareness through global networks and co-operation programmes.

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