Most museums report revenue losses and drop in visits, shows MDC survey

NEWS 06.12.2020 14:04
Source: Tanjug/AP/Aaron Favila

The Museum Documentation Centre has carried out an online survey on the impact of the pandemic on Croatian museums, which has shown that 74% of the surveyed museums have recorded a drop in the number of visitors of 50 to 100%, and nearly two thirds (63%) have seen a drop in revenue of more than 50%.

The survey on the impact of COVID on Croatian museums was conducted before the end of the year so that exact indicators could be presented at the annual meeting of the European Group on Museum Statistics, which was held at the end of November. The survey was done by MDC documentalist Tea Rihtar Juric, who is also a representative in the European Group.

Of the 162 museums from the Register of Private and Public Museums in the Republic of Croatia, 97 museums (60%) took part in the survey, and data was collected for the period from 1 January to 31 October 2020.

The results of the survey show that all surveyed museums were closed for at least some time during the spring lockdown, with the duration ranging from two weeks to several months.

Nearly half of the surveyed museums were closed to the public for five or six weeks, which is the duration of the lockdown, but the most common cause of museums being closed longer are the consequences of the Zagreb earthquake.

Museum workers were very good at organising work in shifts and from home since very few of them stopped working due to the pandemic, even during the lockdown, but the fact that museums were closed caused a drop in the number of visits.

Seven percent of the surveyed museums saw a drop of 20% to 30% in the number of visits compared to last year, 2% a drop of 40% to 50%, 13% registered a drop of 50% to 60%, 15% a drop of 60% to 70%, 23% saw a drop of 70% to 80%, and 18% of the museums reported a drop of 80% to 90% compared to last year’s number of visits. Six percent of the surveyed museums reported a nearly complete drop in visits (90% to 100%).

The lowest percentage of the surveyed museums (2%) saw revenue losses of 20% to 30%, 6% of the museums saw losses between 30% and 40%, 9% of them losses of 40% to 50%, 5% reported losses of 50% to 60%, 15% losses of 60% to 70%, 18% registered losses of 70% to 80%, 12% losses of 80% to 90%, and as many as 15% of the surveyed museums saw revenue losses of 90% to 100%. Only three museums reported no losses.

Digital channels instead of physical museum visits

In order to examine how museums are coping with the new situation by communicating with the public through digital channels, questions were asked about their use, the amount of published content and the number of users.

As many as 88 respondents said that they had been using digital channels to reach their audience even before the lockdown, while seven said they had not. Seventy-four of them published more digital content compared to the corresponding period last year, while 17 of them did not.

The social networking site most commonly used by museums is Facebook, which is used by 45% of the respondents, while 25% of the museums use Instagram, 17% YouTube, 7% Twitter, 2% Vimeo etc. Museums commonly use more than one channel.