13 Percent of Museums Could Close Because of Coronavirus Crisis: Reports

A visitor at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.FRANCISCO SECO/AP/SHUTTERSTOCK

To mark International Museum Day, which took place on May 18, UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) released the findings of two studies assessing the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on art institutions around the world. Their findings suggest a dark future that, with some museums forced to close because of the ongoing health crisis.

UNESCO’s study reveals that 90 percent of museums worldwide—a figure that represents over 85,000 institutions—shuttered temporarily as a result of the pandemic. For some, that closure will likely be permanent: around 13 percent of art institutions may close permanently after major financial losses, the report claims. UNESCO also reports that only 5 percent of museums in Africa and Small Island Developing States were able to offer online content amid the pandemic.

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