After the temporary closure of many museums in Turkey and across the world due to COVID-19 measures, some museums have accelerated their efforts to move their work into digital media, according to the information compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA) for "International Museums Week."
Art lovers can virtually visit, for free, many museums in Turkey during the self-isolation period, as well as many world-renowned international museums, such as the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Meanwhile, some museums are looking for various ways to document these historical developments in the COVID-19 period.
Two studies conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) assessing the impact of COVID-19 on museums reported that more than 85,000 museums and cultural institutions were closed due to the outbreak.
The study stated that approximately 90% of the valuable cultural institutions had to close their doors to visitors, while 13% were under the threat of not reopening.
The study further stressed that only 5% of the museums in Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) could offer online content to their visitors.
According to the American Alliance of Museums, museums in the U.S. alone are estimated to lose $33 million a day.
The U.S. art and culture industry lost more than $4.5 billion in early April, according to a study conducted by the "Americans for Art" organization.
The world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is also expected to lose $100 million and remain closed until July due to the pandemic.
In the U.K., on the other hand, independent museums that are supported only by entrance fees and do not receive regular grants or funds are considered to be at risk. There are approximately 1,600 independent museums and heritage sites in the country, most of them in capital London.
Museums in digital environment
In addition to the challenges such as layoffs and the significant decrease in sector revenues due to the epidemic, many museums focused on projects such as virtual tours, distance education and online collections.
Numerous museums that closed their doors temporarily within the scope of the COVID-19 measures in Turkey and the world have opened their collections to visitors digitally.
The British Museum in London has accelerated the efforts to digitize its works during the pandemic and made 4.5 million works of art available to the world free of charge.
Google's online platform Google Arts & Culture provides access to more than 500 museums and galleries in different countries. Online visits to many museums – such as the British Museum, the Louvre, the Van Gogh Museum and the Vatican Museums, as well as the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Colosseum in Rome and Machu Picchu in Peru – can be made through this platform. Some museums offer free or paid online education programs to art lovers in addition to the view of formidable work.
Museums and archeological sites, which were temporarily closed in Turkey due to the pandemic, were visited online approximately 6 million times in two months.
Some museums, especially in Europe and Asia, started to reopen with the decreasing pace of the spread of the epidemic and removal of quarantine restrictions.
In countries such as China, Germany, South Korea and Switzerland, some museums have opened their doors to visitors, provided that temperature measurements and social distancing rules are applied. The West Bund Museum in Shanghai, the Hong Kong Museum of Art in Hong Kong, the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin and some museums in various European countries have begun to welcome visitors, taking various precautions.