Museums and the Recession

Mark Walhimer Future of Museums, Museum Planning, Museum Trends Leave a Comment


How have museums* changed since 2008?  After putting together the last post “In a Perfect Museum World…”, started thinking how have museums changed since 2008 and the Great Recession.  Below are my observations, would love to hear from others how they see the effect on museums.

1. Museum funding from federal, state, private foundations and individuals has significantly decreased

2. Many museums have decreased staff, decreased open hours and or closed

3. Museum admission prices have risen to cover operating costs (although several museums have taken a different approach of free admissions and become membership based)

4. Museums are now doing more with less income, including outsourcing former staff roles

5. Museum audiences are now more demanding more to counteract lower discretionary funds

6. Museums are required to be competitive with each other for funding

7. Museums now use social media to engage audiences and drive traffic to “bricks and mortar” locations

8. Museums now use crowd-funding to fund projects

9. Museums now use crowd-sourcing to involve audiences in the development of exhibitions

10. Museums are now part of a movement of open authority

How do you think museums have changed since the start of the Great Recession?

* “Museums” include: Art Museums, Science Centers, Children’s Museums, Natural History Museums, Corporate Museums, History Museums, Zoos and Aquariums


“America’s Museums Reflect Slow Economic Recovery in 2012”

“Service and Struggle in the Shadow of Economic Recovery: U.S. Museums in 2012”

“The State of the Science Center”

“Museums and the American Economy in 2011”

“U.S. Museums Continue to Serve Despite Stress”

“Timeline: Museums and the Recession”

“The Recession and US Museums”

“Museums Exhibit Signs Of Economic Distress”


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