June 4, 2020 / News & Blog

Museums in a Pandemic: Snapshot of Impacts

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.1, the first report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Read other reports in this series: ACM Trends Report 4.2, “Financial Impacts by Mid-May 2020, ACM Trends Report 4.3, “Workforce Impacts,” and ACM Trends Report 4.4, “Impacts for Audiences and Partners.”

To understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the children’s museum field, we surveyed ACM member institutions from May 7 to 18, 2020 about their experiences. Overall, 109 US-based children’s museums and 6 non-US museums were represented in the responses. Here are several initial findings; future reports will provide more detail.

  • Federal Funding – The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was the  primary emergency funding source for US children’s museums. For financial support, 101 US-based museums applied for PPP funds. Of those, 95 museums received PPP funding and 6 museums did not. Children’s museums participating in the study cumulatively received $29.34 million in PPP funds.
  • Other Funding – Private funds were another source of financial support for some children’s museums. Of those surveyed, 36 US-based museums reported receiving a total of about $1.61 million in funds from this source. Several non- US institutions also received funds from private sources.
  • Reopening – In terms of plans for reopening, 43 US museums said they had identified their reopen dates. Of those, 39 planned to open before the end of 2020. Sixteen will reopen by June 15, 2020.
  • Memberships – For museums in the US, 9 out of 10 extended renewal dates for memberships.
  • Staffing – At the time of the survey, 75 US children’s museums reported staff reductions. Of those, 32% of full-time staff have been furloughed, laid-off, or had reduced working hours. For part-time staff, 64% have been furloughed, laid-off, or had reduced working hours. We will continue to track children’s museums experiences with staffing as the field navigates the pandemic.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Associations of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. Follow ACM on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. Knology produces practical social science for a better world. Follow Knology on Twitter.