Covid: Museums and galleries 'fighting for survival', Art Fund says

Related Topics
image copyrightFlorence Nightingale Museum
image captionThe Florence Nightingale Museum announced it would close for the foreseeable future

Museums and galleries are "fighting for survival" amid the current lockdown, a national charity has warned.

The Art Fund has predicted that small institutions are likely to suffer most and said more help is needed.

So far, the charity has only been able to help 15% of applicants to its emergency response fund.

Earlier this month, it was announced London's Florence Nightingale Museum is to close for the foreseeable future due to the impact of the pandemic.

The Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead is also under threat of closure, according to the Art Fund.

'Body blow'

The charity's director Jenny Waldman said: "The latest lockdown is a body blow and is leaving our museums and galleries fighting for survival.

"Smaller museums in particular, which are so vital to their communities, simply do not have the reserves to see them through this winter.

Research previously conducted by the charity found six in 10 museums, galleries and historic houses were worried about their own survival.

image copyrightReuters
image captionSir Anish Kapoor said museums were facing "great difficulty"

"Tragically, we are now seeing well-known and much-loved museums facing mothballing or permanent closure," Waldman said.

Olympic artist and sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor added the nation's museums face "great difficulty".

In November, the charity offered limited edition artworks to members of the public who donated to help coronavirus-hit museums.

Sir Anish, Lubaina Himid, David Shrigley and Michael Landy were among the artists who provided their works to the appeal.

Art Fund has renewed its appeal for people to donate to the crowdfunding campaign, which is called Together For Museums.

New works of art from Howard Hodgkin, Jeremy Deller and Cornelia Parker have been added to the items on offer.

image copyright#wearehere
image captionJeremy Deller worked on the 2016 Somme commemoration project featuring 'Ghost Tommies' appearing across UK locations

Sir Anish said: "Museums are where we go to engage with art, witness our psychic history and understand ourselves. Today they face great difficulty.

"The Art Fund campaign gives us an opportunity to help museums to continue to provide access to all in spite of the difficulties of this time."

Art Fund has also announced £750,000 of new grants to help 23 museums respond to the pandemic - taking its total spend so far to £2.25 million.

But that is only a small proportion of the applications the charity has received, which total over £16 million.

Recipients include the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, for a health and wellbeing project, and Portland Museum, Dorset, for a plan to recreate Rufus Castle digitally.

Follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email

More on this story