Jul 25, 2020 - Economy

33% of U.S. museums are "not confident" they will survive next fall

A closed sign is seen outside of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art

A closed sign outside a museum in New York City. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

33% of America's museums are at a "significant risk" of closing permanently by next fall due to economic distress from coronavirus-related shutdowns, an American Alliance of Museums survey has found.

Why it matters: Ticket and gift shop sales, school trips and museum events are primary sources of funding, AAM President and CEO Laura Lott told NPR.

By the numbers: The 760 museums surveyed included aquariums, botanical gardens, art museums and science centers. More than 40% surveyed were history museums, historic houses and historical societies.

  • 87% said they had 12 months or less of financial operating reserves.
  • 56% said they had resources to cover less than six months of operations.
"Museums support 726,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute $50 billion each year to the economy. Of the museums able to reopen, over 40% plan to do so with reduced staff and will need to spend additional funds to ensure their ability to reopen safely."
ā€” AAM said in a statement

Methodology: The sample of 760 museums provides a confidence level of 95% with a confidence interval of 3.15% for the population of AAM member museums.

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