COVID-19 Resources for California Museums

California Closes Museums in 19 Counties on July 1

In a press conference on July 1, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered that museums, zoos, and aquariums in counties that are on the County Monitoring List for three days or more must close indoor operations for at least three weeks. In addition to museums in those counties, the State of California is also ordering the closure of indoor activities in restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, and other venues. Other counties could be added if they experience increases in confirmed cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and ICU patients, or community transmissions. See the current list of counties being monitored. 

Even though the State issued a guidance document for the reopening of museums in early June, this announcement represents a modification to the health order in many areas of California and is subject to county health rules.

Museum Reopening Survey Results & Sample Plans

In our effort to represent the interests of museums in Sacramento, we asked our institutional members about their plans for reopening. The survey results, from 87 museums (as of June 4, 2020), show great disparities in the readiness of museums to reopen to the public. More than half (53%) of California museums do not have a projected date for reopening, while nearly one-third (31%) are ready to reopen as soon as the State of California and their local public health officials allow them to do so. A minority (14%) were working with specific, projected dates, with most of those in mid-June or early July (but some as late as November or January). A majority of museums (69%) are in the process of developing their reopening plans and 21% have completed them. Thank you to our institutional members who took the time to complete this survey.

Some museums that have completed reopening plans are willing to share them with other museum representatives. These sample plans are not intended to be recommendations by either CAM or the organizations that drafted them. For definitive guidance, see the state of California's guidance documents for museums, zoos, and aquariums. Keep in mind that each museum and county will have unique considerations to make when developing a plan for reopening. Be sure to follow your county's variance information and communicate with local health officials. We hope the sample plans provided will serve as helpful resources for reference. If you have completed your plan and wish to share it as a sample, please upload it here.

See Sample Plans

Advocacy Efforts

CAM is deeply concerned about the financial recovery of museums in the aftermath of this viral outbreak. California museums are experiencing unprecedented reductions in revenue (see April 3rd survey results below). Our association has been actively sending letters to members of the California congressional delegation asking that museums be included in COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus packages.

How does your organization #MUSEUMFROMHOME?

Over 30,000 museums around the world have already shared content tagged with #museumfromhome. We truly applaud the creative efforts of California museums that are participating in the movement to engage their audiences from afar on social media.

Follow CAM @calmuseums on Instagram and tag us in your #museumfromhome posts for a chance to be reposted on our account.

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Survey Results: CAM Institutional Members & COVID-19

CAM conducted a survey of our member institutions in early April to gauge the initial financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our state's museums and cultural organizations. We have prepared a one-page overview of these survey results that we have shared with State legislators, policymakers, and members of the California congressional delegation (PDF available for download below).

As expected, California museums are experiencing unprecedented reductions in revenue and are losing over $22 million a day due to the statewide shelter-in-place order necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. By May 1st, the California museum sector will have lost $929 million. Although most museums have maintained staffing levels as of April 3, 2020, 40% have cut back personnel costs with staff furloughs and/or layoffs. The full-time equivalent of the California museum workforce has decreased 10%.

To help you navigate these uncertain times, here are some resources to inform your decision-making:

Remote working tips and professional development opportunities: