UAE News

33% of museums worldwide face layoffs, 6% at risk of closure, key webinar hears

ICOM-UAE Webinar-1617952308788
ICOM-UAE held a webinar on April 7 to debate way forward for museums amidst the pandemic. Picture Credit score: Provided

Dubai: One-third of the world’s museums face downsizing whereas six per cent might shut completely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a webinar organised by the UAE committee of ICOM heard on Wednesday.

The alarming projection was shared by the Worldwide Council of Museums (ICOM) throughout ‘The Future of Museums in the Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ webinar hosted by ICOM-UAE.

International lockdowns and grounded flights compelled by the pandemic have hit museums onerous by retaining away guests and vacationers.

‘Traumatic lockdown’

Alberto Garlandini, President, ICOM stated: “Museums are going through the most serious crisis in their modern history… ICOM surveys on the impact of COVID-19 have confirmed a widespread climate of uncertainty about the future…Many professionals, especially consultants and independent workers – often young and motivated colleagues – are facing furloughs and terminations. We are risking losing their knowledge and commitment, which would be a catastrophe. The loss of income due to the lockdown has been traumatic.”

ICOM-UAE plans

The UAE has fared comparatively effectively – museums had closed solely from March 2020 to Could 2020 for essentially the most half, Dr Essam Al Najdy, director of ICOM-UAE, stated. There are 164 museums within the UAE. The pandemic had led to a 40 per cent drop in museum customer numbers within the UAE, Dr Al Najdy stated. Nevertheless, there was a surge in digital audiences from all around the world “visiting” UAE’s museums due to the web exhibitions launched throughout the pandemic. ICOM-UAE has “optimistic and ambitious” plans to offset any future threats from the pandemic, Al Najdy added. ICOM-UAE can be “building a special programme” for personal museums – which aren’t supported by authorities budgets – within the UAE to assist them be a part of ICOM, he stated.

Greater than 50 per cent of museums have “complained” they haven’t acquired direct or oblique monetary assist from governments within the disaster, he added. ICOM is “advocating for emergency funds at all international tables”.

Most susceptible

From the six per cent of anticipated museum closures, 22 per cent – the best charge – can be seen within the Arab world, stated Ech-Cherki Dahmali, vice-president of the ICOM Arab Regional Alliance. He added that almost all in danger have been small museums close to archaeological and historic websites that rely upon revenue from tourism and entry tickets.

The 2-hour webinar featured audio system from 10 ICOM nationwide committees, together with the UAE. The digital occasion was moderated by ICOM-UAE President Rashad Bukhash, who stated he stays “very optimistic” concerning the outlook, thanks primarily to the UAE authorities’s response in dealing with the disaster.

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