International Council of Museums
National Committee of Azerbaijan

ICOM Azerbaijan analyses the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on museums in Azerbaijan

On August 3-6, 2020, ICOM Azerbaijan carried out a survey to identify problems emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic in local museum activities and support museums in overcoming the challenges.

The survey included museums in Baku, Nakhchivan, Gadabay, Astara, Masalli, Neftchala, Shabran, Khachmaz, Barda, Guba, Ujar, Shirvan, Beylagan, Yevlakh and other regions. The event involved 59 respondents from 42 museums, as well as art galleries and museum centers.

95.1% of respondents were employees of the state supported museums and 4.9% from cultural institutions of alternative financing.

The survey revealed that 80.3% of the cultural institutions functioned online and 6.6% on-site during the pandemic lockdown. 13.1% of them did not work completely. During the quarantine period, most of the museum staff participated in online trainings and workshops.

During the lockdown, their main activities were presentations of video lectures, educational resources for children, students, adults, parents, and teachers, as well as resources of digitized museum collections.

According to the respondents, education is the most important function of museums during the pandemic.

Lack of visitors, disruption of normal economic activity, material and moral damages, as well as postponed projects are considered by the respondents as  main negative consequences for museums in the current quarantine situation. Positive results for museums include online experiences, increase of online education, more opportunities for conducting researches, and preventing the spread of coronavirus, etc.

According to the survey, 98.4% of museums did not lay off employees during the pandemic. In this period, the museum staff faced technical difficulties, such as disruption in the routine work, getting used to online activities, lack of electronic information, lack of human resources, as well as paid services.

The pandemic gave impetus to a number of innovations in museum work, such as online activity, increase in the number of visitors on social networks, stimulating the public interest in arts.

Following the pandemic, the museums are going to return to their usual work, intensify the online activities and innovate in the field.

According to the survey, 57.4% of respondents expect museums to open within a month.

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