Museums during COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has had and will have an unprecedented impact on museums all over the world. To better understand the status quo and what might come next, we are analysing the results from a recent follow-up survey on COVID-19’s impact on the museum sector. We are continuing to support the museum sector with data and information about the situation and we are closely monitoring the second closures in an interactive map.

NEMO survey on museums and COVID-19

During the beginning of the pandemic, NEMO was quick in setting up a survey to map how museums are reacting to and coping with the sudden closures. Answers from almost 1000 museums from 48 countries were collected between 24 March and 30 April 2020. NEMO has analysed the data to track how museums in Europe have been affected in the first weeks and to predict how the situation might develop in the future. Based on the findings, NEMO is also offering recommendations to stakeholders at all levels.

Museums in Europe forced to close again

Upon learning that museums in Europe are closing again, we are updating our interactive map of re-openings, but this time with information about closures. With the help of our network, we are updating the map to provide an overview of European countries' decisions to keep museums open or closed. 

National responses to COVID-19

NEMO is gathering recommendations, guidelines and news that are announced by and for museum organisations and museums across Europe.

Government of the Netherlands

The Netherlands

Oxford Economics / Creative Industries Federation

The UK

Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Region Emilia-Romagna


Netherlands Museums Association

The Netherlands

Netherlands Museums Association

The Netherlands

Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Region Emilia-Romagna


Irish Museums Association


Swizz Museums Association


ICOM Belgique Wallonie-Bruxelles and Musée et Société en Wallonie


Other resources

Hands On! - International Association of Children's Museums

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends

Museum Association of New York

Adrian Ellis and András Szántó, first published on Artnet News

Best practices and policies

Drive through exhibition
Coronavirus friendly exhibition accessed with electric cars.

Community initiatives
The museum helps people in the borough, which is hit hard by COVID-19

Abstract sculpture on a terrace outside a museum  © Veerle Ausloos, Image: M Leuven_Trapsculptuur van Hannes Van Severen

Digital initiatives
Full online experience with virtual tours, videos, podcast and magazine.

Post pandemic approaches
Campaign to encourage visitors to return to the museum

Digital initiatives
Finland’s first fully digital museum with exhibitions from 4 museums. Participate in tours, by yourself or with a group.

Screenshot from the museum's virtual exhibition on Rembrandt   © Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza_Rembrandt and Amsterdam portraiture, 1590-1670

Digital initiatives
Immersive virtual tour of the temporary Rembrandt exhibition 

  © Image: Timea Jambor

Digital initiatives
Mostly free live streamed Creative Corona Classe.

Safe and open patchwork

As museums started to open again after the first closure, we were amazed by the many creative hygiene posters that they created.

NEMO Webinar: Museum lives in post-pandemia

In this NEMO Webinar from 6 May 2020, Sandro Debono, museum thinker and culture strategist, explores how institutions can sustain relevance over time even when circumstances dictate closure. It also provides practical suggestions as to how museums can keep sight of their communities' needs and ambitions as these evolve and change over time.

Podcast on COVID-19's impact on museums

On 7 May 2020, NEMO joined the podcast episode Global voices: Europe - We're all stronger together to disucss how COVID-19 has impacted attractions in Europe.

Julia Pagel, Secretary General of NEMO, David Vuillaume, Director of the German Museums Association and Chair of NEMO, as well as Aleksandra Berberih-Slana, President of the Slovenian Museums Association and a NEMO Executive Board member, joined the podcast, which is produced by Dexibit.

In the podcast, Julia, David and Aleksandra are encouraging museums across Europe with the message 'We are stronger together'. They stress the importance for European venues learning from each other (particularly as some countries reopen, such as already occurring in Germany), the role of digital in the crisis and the financial challenges ahead for some European cultural institutions despite public funding, especially for those where that funding is now at risk. Plus, insight highlights from NEMO's recent survey of COVID-19 impacts in Europe.