Small Museums and COVID-19

This past month has been a very challenging time for small museums in BC. Though museums have closed their doors to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, many museum professionals continue to work behind the scenes, hopefully in safe spaces with adequate social distancing measures. Some small museums may be facing hard decisions either now or in the months to come. As these small museums navigate through COVID-19 and the inevitable loss of visitor income, there are many underlying concerns. Many small museums get by on a patchwork of funding from various sources and continue to rely on volunteer labour alongside (hopefully) at least one paid staff member, or if fortunate, more than one. Can these small institutions retain their existing staff?  Will they need to downsize? What does downsizing even look like to an already small organization?

The pandemic is challenging many small museums to do things differently in order to continue to engage with their audiences. Small museums are resilient and have a history of “thinking outside the box” in order to survive. Museums, as promoters of social cohesion and as sources of critical historical consciousness, are valuable assets during the pandemic. It can even be argued that people need art and culture during times of crisis.

One small museum in BC is thinking ahead to ensure documentation exists on what life was like living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trail Museum and Archives COVID-19 Journal Project