Danish museums welcomed 3 million less visitors in 2020

© Arxiu Fotogràfic del Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges Two people wearing nose and mouth covering masks are looking at art hanging on the wall.

© Arxiu Fotogràfic del Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges

A survey by the Danish Museums Association indicates that visitor numbers in 2020 dropped by a third compared to 2019.

6 out of 10 museums report a decrease in income compared to 2019. Out of these, half decreased with more than 25% and every fourth museum experienced a loss of more than 40%. On the brighter side, 20% of museums reported no change in revenue and a few museums expected an increase in revenue – usually thanks to museum openings in 2020, opening of new venues and a good summer.

A third of museums made use of government support to cover wages and another third secured support for fixed costs. 9 out of 10 museums indicated that the most efficient help package was the so called “Summer package”. The government initiative aimed to boost the economy during the summer of 2020, and it included reduced museum admission, which increased museum visits during the summer.

Flemming Just, President of the Danish Museums Association, encourages the government to repeat the successful model of the Summer package to encourage people to return to the museum once they reopen. He also argues that museums should be allowed to reopen much sooner than the national guidelines suggest. At the moment museums are considered an “Indoor sports and culture activity”. However, instead of only looking at indoor and outdoor, it would make more sense to consider the level of physical contact. Museums are well adapted to offer a cultural experience without any physical contact and they have proven to ensure infection prevention measures.