Museums Reopening (ctd.)

September 4 2020

Image of Museums Reopening (ctd.)

Picture: Tate

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published an article concerning the low visitor numbers to London museums since their reopening earlier this summer. Through their own research, they suggest that museums in London are experiencing a much slower uptake of timed slots than they had hoped. Their survey included institutions such as the National Gallery, Tate, and V&A. Data from the UK culture department suggest that museums have been running at 12% of their usual summer visitor numbers. They also report that the National Gallery has seen a very large decline in visitors under the age of 34.

Many reasons for the drop are suggested, including the fact that the timed booking slots does not suit the many casual visitors who usually decide to visit museums only a day or two before.

Regrettably, this data is not entirely surprising. The media in the UK is flooded with reports that London remains eerily quiet due to changes in home working and visitors plainly staying away. This is in addition to the fact that the city's supply of international tourists has all but vanished. In the meanwhile, one hopes that internal visitors will gradually become more confident in visiting such places. It seems that the only resolution to this problem will be a miracle vaccine.

In addition to these testing times, Bendor has penned this article in the same publication drawing attention to a leaked document from the UK's culture minister Oliver Dowden pushing museums to be more commercially active.

To quote the article:

In a letter leaked to The Art Newspaper, the culture secretary Oliver Dowden has urged museum directors to "take as commercially-minded an approach as possible, pursuing every opportunity to maximise alternative sources of income". If they don’t, he warns, "I will not be in a position to make the case for any further financial support for the sector."

It seems that the DCMS could not have picked a worse time to give such instructions.

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