ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) says that 90 per cent of the world’s museums have closed their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic and more than 10pc of them may never reopen.
It is clear that these temporary closures have had serious economic and social consequences that may affect museums in the long term, says a report released by Unesco on Thursday on “Museums around the world in the face of Covid-19”.
In its conclusion, the report says the shutdown of cultural tourism endangers the financial stability of a great many institutions; since it constitutes one of the main resources on which museums rely on to ensure their operation and economic survival.
Pakistan has 46 museums, out of which 37 have been closed due to coronavirus, representing over 84pc closure. Western Europe has 61,634 museums, out of which almost 95pc have been closed. This is followed by the Asia and the Pacific region which has 12,195 museums and almost 60pc of them have been closed.
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Almost all the museums in Eastern Europe (11,465) and Latin America and the Caribbean (7,810) have been closed. In Arab states all the 473 museums are completely closed, whereas in Africa, 738 museums out of 841 are open.
The main players affected by this loss are museum professionals, especially the self-employed, three out of five of whom have lost their jobs and are in urgent need of support. Consequently, reflections on strategies to revive tourism must not forget that museums are at the centre of the cultural experience that visitors have of the country, city or site that they are discovering, the report says.
Resilience is one of the fundamental characteristics of museums and this has become even more evident since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. Museums have always been able to reinvent themselves and adapt to changes in society.
The report indicates that they are already rethinking their operations and relationship with the public in order to move forward and survive post-Covid-19.
Museums around the world are both repositories of works and artifacts, as well as spaces for meeting, knowledge sharing and building social ties. The situation facing museums today remains a concern in all regions of the world. The study revealed that, since 2012, the number of museums worldwide has increased by almost 60pc, representing almost 95,000 institutions worldwide.
Despite the challenges posed by this crisis, many cultural institutions and professionals have continued to serve as a source of resilience and support to communities.
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