NEMO survey on museums and COVID-19: How museums increase their online activities

© Image: Biletto Editorial This is a photo of a person wearing VR-glasses, while painting on a canvas. They hold a brush and palette in their hands.

© Image: Biletto Editorial

NEMO is releasing data on how museums in Europe are organising their online activities after closing their doors to the public. The data is derived from NEMO’s survey on how museums in Europe are coping during the corona crisis, building from the initial report and including a larger pool of respondents.

More than 60% of the museums who answered the survey before 17 April, have increased their online presence through different services in the past weeks. A creative solution to cater for new and additional online services has been to shift staff tasks to provide services online. 30% of museums have changed staff tasks while 13% have added resources to online activities (see Figure 1).

How do museums increase their online services?
The following two charts illustrate that an increase in services goes hand in hand with an increase in resources.

Without surprise, the chart below (Figure 2) shows that museums that reallocated staff tasks and/or increase resources are most active in the start of new online services or increasing existing services, most prominently virtual tours and online exhibitions. The cluster close to 0 clearly shows that museums that have not added resources also are not increasing or starting online activities.

Museums in Norway, Spain and Austria (furthest to the right in fig. 2) have been most flexible and agile in both re-allocating or adding resources and have therefore increased their online services substantially. As the chart indicates, several museums in these countries have already added extra resources to cope with the corona-situation. As a result, they are able to increase their online actives and start new ones.

NEMO also inquired if museums have started or increased their online activities since their closure. Services that do not require additional financial resources and/or experience and skills have increased the most (see Figure 3). To illustrate; most of the museums that have increased or started a new activity are working with a) hashtags or b) adding to their already existing online collections. This usually involves a modest increase in resources (mostly staff time) compared to, for instance, starting a podcast, which requires much more planning and significant use of resources (mostly staff expertise in product development). Only a few museums have indicated that they have started or increased production.

  • Read the initial survey results and recommendations.
  • NEMO is accepting answers to the survey until 30 April. The new answers will be compared with the initial result. It will be interesting to see whether the online offers of museums have changed and develop compared to the first weeks of closure, also being able to look at what service online audiences used most.