NEMO Statement calling for comprehensive and sustainable reopening of all museums in Europe

© Arxiu Fotogràfic del Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges   A man is taking a selfie of himself and three other people standing behind him in front of a big painting. They are all wearing face masks.

© Arxiu Fotogràfic del Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges

NEMO calls for the comprehensive and sustainable reopening of all museums in Europe. NEMO wants policy makers to fully realise the potential in collaborating with museums to reactive urban life and assist people in finding the new normal.  

Museums in Europe are ready to reopen, to reactivate urban life and to accompany people in the new normal. In many countries, museums have been able to open their doors to the public again, while other countries keep their museums closed. While NEMO applauds the opening of museums in a growing number of countries, our goal is to see all museums being able to open to the public across Europe. Why? 

Museums are important during the pandemic 

  • Museums have been acknowledged as places that facilitate emotional processing of difficult situations such as the corona pandemic.  
  • Museums have an important role to play in social cohesion. Art and culture make life worth living and museums provide places of democratic debate and social understanding.  
  • Museums are an essential part of local educational landscapes, they systematically cooperate with schools and day-care centres and they combine offers of informal learning, fun and entertainment.  

Museums provide safe spaces during the pandemic  

  • Museums provide large spaces that allow controlled and safe visits of the public. They are educational institutions offering different kinds of informal and non-formal learning and debate. 
  • Museums have developed comprehensive hygiene concepts, have invested in ventilation measures, online ticket systems, control systems to limit visitor flows, and sanitary facilities among others to make their spaces safe. These measures apply to the visitors as well as the employees. Museums have proven to be safe places – no incidents of wide-spread infection have been reported from museums in Europe so far.  

The lockdown has shown how much people need each other and a connection to their community. Arts and culture are foundational to the sense of community and our shared values. While reopening to the public, museums saw encouraging visitor returns and recently witnessed lines of eager visitors. This, along with multiple statements from culture sector professionals, demonstrates the pressing need for access to cultural life during the pandemic. 

NEMO asks policy makers at all levels to acknowledge that museums are a resource, instead of an additional cost, in crises times. Museums now need comprehensive and sustainable frameworks and processes to open their doors to the public and stay open during the fluctuating pandemic situation. Stable public funding - now and in the future – is required so museums can resume their activities despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic.  

  • Download the statement as a pdf.
  • The statement is released together with an overview, which lists information about the status quo of museum operations in 31 European countries.