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US museums draw more than 850 million visitors each year, but not this year. And a recent survey suggests one-third may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
NPR reports 33% of 760 directors surveyed said their museum was either at "significant risk" of permanently closing by next Fall or they just didn't know.
The survey released Wednesday included art museums, aquariums, botanical gardens and science centers. More than 40% were history centers.
"There's a large public perception that museums rely on government support, when the reality is they get only a quarter of their funding from the government," AAM President and CEO Laura Lott tells NPR.
Ticket and gift shop sales, school trips and museum events are primary sources of funding, she says, "most of which went to zero overnight when they were all shuttered."
Museums account for 760,000 direct and indirect jobs and a $50 billion annual economic contribution. 40% of institutions able to reopen still expect to reduce staff.
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