What will the exhibition and the museum landscape look like after COVID-19?

In the face of the worldwide pandemic COVID-19, many businesses have now adapted how they deliver their services to customers – including the museum and exhibition sectors. Thankfully, in the technology-led world we live in today altering our services in a virtual way can be easily done but does it give the same effect?

In this challenging time there are various virtual activities that the museum and exhibition industry can utilise to keep their offer strong and relevant. Many museums and exhibitions are providing virtual resources, online collections and podcasts to their audiences in the comfort of their own home.

Take for instance attending the Uffizi without having to face the horrendous crowds of Florence, viewing the Louvre’s masterpieces in picture perfect 3D or constructing a Formula 1 car at Silverstone piece by piece on a virtual platform!

Whilst museums and exhibitions are constantly adjusting their activities, it strikes a question of what the visitor attraction industry will look like once we come out the other side of the pandemic. Of course, this is also coupled with the inevitable complication of the predicted economic downturn.  Both issues are seemingly harder to solve because of one common thread – the unknown.

Fear tends to drive people’s decision-making strategies so being in public places with large groups of people, especially those with underlying heath issues or the elderly, could be problematic.

A solution to this issue could be to introduce touch-free AV. This would then minimise the amount of people pressing surfaces and could reduce the fear some visitors may face in the early days of ‘back to reality’ life.

On the other hand – many other people will have taken the time during lockdown to reflect on how much they miss social contact so there may be an upsurge in people doing more cultural activities – whether it’s escaping real life for that limited time, learning new subjects or simply enjoying family leisure time.

We will no doubt get through this difficult period but not putting things in place to protect the museum industry would be both foolhardy and morally incompetent.

Things will change in the short-term but we believe that the diversity and determination of this sector will not only survive but ultimately thrive.