Covid-19: UNESCO sounds the alarm on the situation of museums

A new report produced by UNESCO has drawn up an alarming assessment of the situation of 104,000 museums in the face of the pandemic, confirming their fragility after a year of health crisis.

In 2020, museums were closed 155 days on average and many of them have undergone further closures since the start of the year, resulting in a 70% drop in attendance and a 40% drop in revenue. at 60% on average compared to the results of 2019, according to this report produced on the basis of data provided by 87 Member States of UNESCO as part of an online survey conducted last March.

Despite the measures put in place (awareness campaigns or reinforced security protocols), described in this report, public subsidies have fallen for almost half of the museums in the States that have answered this question, sometimes drastically, since these cuts can reach 40% of the amount of subsidies before the pandemic, adds the UN organization in a press release.

This trend is cause for alarm. Not only because the prolonged closings, the vertiginous drop in attendance and revenue weigh on the organization of the museum sector, by also making it more difficult to conserve or secure establishments as well as relations with the public and neighboring populations. ; but also because museums, remind the authors of the report, play an essential role in economic and social life and in post-COVID recovery.

Recommendations are also formulated in this report, such as the establishment of a large-scale digital policy for the inventory of collections, or measures to support education, research or training, the press release notes.

As a United Nations agency specializing in culture, UNESCO is also committed to supporting Member States and museum institutions in this transformation and will provide a frame of reference while promoting international cooperation, we note.

“The place that we reserve for museums in the policies of recovery in the face of the pandemic says a lot about the values ​​that we wish to put forward, as a society”, declared the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, quoted in the press release.

“In the midst of the crisis, we must not lose sight of this fundamental foundation: access to culture, the conservation of our common heritage, in all its diversity. States have an essential role to play in supporting museums in this difficult period, through an ambitious cultural policy, not only to guarantee their survival but to prepare them for the future, ”she said.

This report follows the first global report published in May 2020 entitled “Museums around the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic”. It is part of the continuing efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to preserve, promote and assist museums, based on the 2015 UNESCO Recommendation on Museums, such as the recent debate “Reflections on the future of museums” or the High Level Forum for Museums, the second edition of which will take place next September.


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