Meanwhile, staff at York Museums Trust, where losses of £1.4m have been sustained, have been warned that two-thirds of their jobs are at risk. About 70% of the trust’s income comes from ticket sales and visitor spend. Although it has received an emergency grant from Arts Council England, and has backing from the City Council, the trust’s chief executive, Reyahn Khan, believes it will not be enough to keep the trust afloat.
Matters are no better in Scotland, where Museums Galleries Scotland estimates that two-thirds of the country’s independent museums will not survive another year without additional funding, despite a £4m emergency fund, part of the DCMS cultural rescue package. The situation is compounded by a number of factors. Many small museums would find it difficult to open with social distancing measures in place and are run by volunteers who are unwilling or unable to return. As costs are scrutinised, University museums are also under threat, because they are not seen as core elements of research and teaching.
With every day that passes during the pandemic we move ever further away from the likelihood that life truly will be able to return to normal.