After being closed for nearly 5½ months, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opens again this week as the city emerges from being one of the world’s coronavirus hot spots.
Other museums in New York are opening, too, and the Louvre in Paris and major museums in London have also reopened with masks and physical distancing required.
2020 hasn’t been a good year to be a museum. Architectural Digest reports that New York's MoMA has significantly reduced its exhibition and publishing budget, the Met is expecting a $150 million shortfall, and that museums in the U.S. are losing $33 million per day from the closures.
Will people return in droves? Some are wary of being in enclosed spaces, even with safety protocols in place, yet others may be enticed by the prospect of smaller crowds and exploring quiet galleries.
Some 105 million people visited the 20 most popular museums in the world in 2019, down 2.4% from the year before, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association, which tracks attendance at museums and theme parks.
This year, nearly 90% of the world’s museums had closed their doors due to the pandemic, and almost 13% are in danger of never re-opening, the report says.
While museums will continue to reopen with safety protocols in place, the extent to which individual museums are able to remain viable during and after the pandemic will depend on a number of factors, the report says. These include revenue sources, size of endowment and operating reserves, building facility characteristics, outdoor programming opportunities, level of COVID-19 in the community, government support, and building ownership, among others.
Based on the Themed Entertainment Association’s latest museum index, these were the world’s most visited museums in 2019.