V&A Dundee

Half of Scottish visitors concerned about visiting museums post-lockdown

Rebecca Atkinson, 17.06.2020
But 26% say they will visit as soon as restrictions are lifted
Museum visitors in Scotland expect a wide range of safety measures, such as regular cleaning and space for social distancing, to be put in place by cultural venues if they are to revisit when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The Scotinform Cultural Survey, which was carried out between 12 May and 2 June, found that 51% of museum visitors taking part had concerns about being in public spaces that “might” or “definitely will” affect how often they return to these types of spaces.

However, 26% said they will visit a museum as soon as they can – and 18% said they will visit museums more often than before the pandemic forced cultural institutions to shut their doors.

Once museums reopen, 90% of those surveyed expect regular cleaning on touch points, such as door handles or interactive exhibits; 87% want safety and hygiene measures put in place; and 85% think spaces should allow for social distancing.

A further 84% think museums should limit the total number of people in a space, while 71% think pre-booked tickets should be available for exhibitions and events.

The Scotinform Cultural Survey was created by Sheena Muncie and Helen Duncan, the directors of Scotinform.

“Visitors expect that when they return museums will  implement hygiene and social distancing measures to keep them safe while also expecting them to provide the welcoming and friendly atmosphere that they know and love,” Muncie says.

“Organisations will need to tread carefully between the two extremes as visitors re-emerge and re-engage and this will be particularly challenging for front-of-house staff.”

The survey also reveals the impact Covid-19 has had on donations and digital engagement. In the year before lockdown, 30% of museum visitors had made charitable donations to a cultural organisation but this fell to just 7% since lockdown.

Meanwhile, while 78% of respondents had engaged with museums online through social media or websites, this dropped to 59% during lockdown. 

Of the 5,031 people who took part in the survey, 4,721 were museum visitors living in
Scotland. Of those, 81% said they had missed visiting museums during lockdown, with exhibitions and special events the most missed aspects of the experience.

71% were female and 48% were aged between 45-64.

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