Children's Museums in a Pandemic: Impacts for Workforce and Audiences & Partners

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Sharing ACM Trends Reports 4.3 and 4.4 from the Association of Children’s Museums and Knology

More than half of participating museums reported establishing new or expanding existing collaborations, with goals of sharing resources and information, conducting planning related to the pandemic, and developing content for curriculums and programming.

The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and Knology shared Volumes 4.3 and 4.4 of the ACM Trends Reports, "Museums in a Pandemic: Workforce Impacts" and "Museums in a Pandemic: Impacts for Audiences & Partners." These reports delve into changes affecting children’s museums’ staffing, as well as visitors, members, and partners, in the first two months of the COVID-19 crisis.

"In examining the impacts of COVID-19 on children’s museums, it’s clear the effects of the pandemic will be long-lasting and far-reaching in our field," said ACM Executive Director Laura Huerta Migus. "In the midst of considerable upheaval, these findings underscore the importance children’s museums have in their communities, both as employers and as providers of services and programming that support children and families."

The data draws from a survey from 115 ACM member museums conducted in May 2020. Key findings include:

  • Layoffs and Furloughs –36% of museums surveyed had laid off or furloughed staff as of mid-May 2020.
  • Online Engagement – 93% of museums surveyed offered online programming and activities on their websites and social media platforms.
  • Expanding Partnerships – More than half of participating museums reported establishing new or expanding existing collaborations, with goals of sharing resources and information, conducting planning related to the pandemic (such as facility reopening procedures), and developing content for curriculums and programming.

These reports conclude ACM and Knology’s analysis of the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the children’s museum field during the first two months of the crisis. ACM and Knology are collecting a second round of data to explore the field’s experiences between May and September 2020. Further impacts will be explored in future reports of the ACM Trends Reports series.

Read the full text of ACM Trends 4.3 here and ACM Trends 4.4 here.

About ACM Trends Reports
Launched in Fall 2017, the ACM Trends Reports series draws from more than a decade of ACM member data to reveal trends in the children’s museum field. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
The Association of Children's Museums (ACM) champions children's museums worldwide. With more than 460 members in 50 states and 19 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children's museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. Learn more at http://www.childrensmuseums.org.

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Alison Howard
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