The Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) has been conducting industry research into the impacts of COVID-19 on our sector. This, the second post in a series, summarises main findings from the August survey (n=349). The March/April survey outcomes overview can be found here.
- Tourism is a big financial loss, as are schools for those that rely on that market for income.
- Still an expressed need and desire for networking and connecting, except for Volunteer-run/Historical societies – their needs focus around income support.
- Risks are around revenue and visitation, with 20 respondents (7%) stating permanent closure and 47 (15%) long-term closure and 107 (35%) stating long-term sustainability will be an issue for them.
- Re-engaging with the community is also seen as a huge future risk across all sub-groups.
- Morale is still pretty good, while not high, respondents across the board mainly said morale of their organisations and for themselves was generally good/positive.
- Organisational members are most concerned about revenue and visitation, and re-engaging with their communities. Income is an issue with more reporting cancelling programs and events, loss of entry fees, donations, retail, etc.
- Individual members’concerns are more personal, although loss of income is still a worry, yet hasn’t fully affected them yet. While they don’t require economic support, a large majority have accessed Australian Government support.
- Volunteer / Historical Society respondents are more likely to be based in regional/remote areas, be locked down and / or closed to visitors. All sources of income have been greatly affected, including membership, and they require economic support – none have accessed State Government funding, although Local Government funding has been accessed. They are also least likely to be doing any online programming – this is the same finding as in the April survey.
- Regional and Remote members aremost concerned about income loss from a range of activities – visitors generally, school students, tourism and decreased sales/merchandise. Given this, they are not seeking PD or advocacy – the support they want is around income and grants. Re-engaging with their communities, membership retention and new members, as well as volunteers not returning are seen as their greatest risks.
Members facing long-term or permanent closure; or who have fears for their long-term sustainability
This sub-sample (n=174) was chosen to see the effects of C-19 on this group specifically. As expected, they are reporting more loss of income and jobs and therefore, less stability and wanting more support across all areas – focussing on income, grants and economic advice, and wanting assistance with digital, advocacy and PD. This group also comprises those who contract to the sector, with their comments reflecting how much work has been cancelled and deferred. This demonstrates that there could be ‘hidden’ groups in the sector that might be flying under the radar and may not return after the pandemic eases, echoing similar findings to the Museum Freelance (UK) study. More on that, plus other industry COVID surveys, reports and insights, will be the subject of my next blog post.
Another reminder that we are about to launch our final touchpoint November survey so watch your inboxes and social channels.