The Impact of COVID-19 on Leadership Skills in Asian Museums

Archaeology Faculty, Ain Shams University, Egypt

This research provides insights into how museum leaders in Asia have managed the short-term and long-term impacts of COVID-19 in light of the many existing challenges that museum leaders are experiencing. From 2020, onwards the pandemic triggered a political and economic crisis that resulted in numerous social challenges and an unprecedented period of uncertainty. COVID-19 has been perceived as a huge wake-up call for museums. Although it became a catalyst for reflection and renewal, as well as an impetus for the adoption of new technologies, many museums were badly hit by prolonged closures and the ensuing loss of income. The aim of this study was to try and understand the full impact of this social and economic turmoil, and to help define what support museum leaders needed to overcome this crisis. The outcomes suggest that the most significant impacts of COVID-19 on museums were the use of digital technologies in programming, the increased commitment to the social role of museums, new approaches to audience engagement, the reassessment of the museum’s value to communities, and the creation of ‘impact’ with fewer resources. The study also found that the top three most valuable leadership skills in a crisis in Asian Museums were constant communication with staff, remaining calm, and the design and implementation of risk-management strategies.