Implications of Global Pandemic COVID-19 on Asian Museums: Redefining Access to Cultural Heritage

Vishi Upadhyay1, Arjun Rao2

1Bihar Museum,

2Department of History and Archaeology, Central University of Karnataka,

Since the spread of COVID-19 various aspects of socio-economic life, administrative functionaries, and the movement of the public have shaken and are finding it harder to get back to the ‘New Normal’. Museology is also one major field which is not exempted from this consequence and is looking to define the ‘New Normal’. The socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the museum sector is severe but its long-term impacts are still difficult to determine. Besides reduced income and downsizing, the effects of the pandemic on museums will also have major consequences on working hours and operations, initiating new exhibitions and public outreach programmes leading to deprived access to cultural heritage, employment openings, research opportunities and various stakeholders. Massive shift to digital/virtual activities is assumed to be one of the solutions, but questions have been raised about the sustainability of such practices over time. This panel welcomes well-researched papers on various aspects including but not limited to: (a) conservation and preservation assessment of the collections during the enduring/ephemeral lockdowns; (b) start-up strategies for museum reopening and challenges with deficit museum capital/revenues; (c) introduction of novel methods and goals for museums to present themselves and access to their collections; (d) functioning of various other departments in the museums such as security, public relation offices, consultations, research and publications; and (e) digitisation of repositories/collections and virtual museums.