Latvian state museums earned only 4% of planned income due to lockdown

 Two people wearing face masks walk through an exhibition hall. There is plenty of space between them and the walls are covered with distance markings.

Shortly after museums in Latvia could reopen on 1 June 2021, the Ministry of Culture released figures stating 3.5 million euro revenue loss in the Latvian museum sector.

An article from 7 June, states that museums under the responsibility of the state only have been able to earn 4% of the planned income in 2021. The state funded Latvian National Museum of Art reports a revenue loss of €630 thousand. The head of the museum, Māra Lāce, hopes that the government will cover this amount: “We hope so very much, because otherwise we can't pay for heating, electricity and security.”

The Ministry of Culture has requested that the government allocates €3.46 million to support public museums.

Zane Grīnvalde, Chair of the Latvian Museums Association, acknowledges that the lockdown has been difficult for all museums, but she is also glad that no museum had to permanently close and that no employee to her knowledge got fired.

Museums that reopen have to follow strict rules. Only one visitor per 25 m2 is allowed and museums must provide a one-way traffic system, which is a challenge for small memorial apartments that usually only have one exist.

The article concludes that the future work of museums is hampered by the unpredictability of the situation. No one can tell how long museums will be available to visitors. Consequently, there is no clarity on how to plan future exhibitions.