Fighting for our future We must unite and support industry leaders to lobby for the emergency funding our sectors need to shield us from the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic
s we slither down the pyramid of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, from the peaks of selfactualisation and the joys of creativity, spontaneity and self-fulfillment, to a focus on survival – food, shelter, water – questions hover in the air around the shape the industry will be in once we come crawling out of the other side of the pandemic. Attractions represent one of the pinnacles of human existence, celebrating as they do our history, knowledge and culture and offering time to reflect or celebrate, to learn or to enjoy carefree time with loved ones. But we are on the front line in the pandemic, stripped of revenue streams by the shutdowns and with no other substantial sources of income to replace this vital funding. With such heavy infrastructure costs, many attractions may not survive. If they close, we will not only lose beloved places, but also precious people with rare and valuable skills, as teams scatter. A world with fewer attractions and culture would be a lesser place and so we must fight and work together to keep our industry afloat in whatever ways we can. This means powerful leadership to lobby governments to give the financial support the industry needs and calls for them to make charitable giving more tax-efficient to attract funds from high net worth individuals. In the UK, Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, has been leading the charge in partnership with industry body, The Museums Association. They have identified a partial solution and are working to prise £120m from the government to rescue the sector from the worst of the damage. This had been ringfenced for a Festival of Culture in 2022, but as Donoghue told the Guardian, if we don’t support the sector now, there will be no culture to celebrate.
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ALVA director, Bernard Donoghue, is fighting for support
We need powerful leadership to lobby governments to give the industry the financial support it needs In the US, the Alliance of American Museums is seeking US$4 billion in coronavirus relief from the government for emergency assistance up to June. The amount gives an indication of the scale of the challenge: AMM says museums in the US are losing US$33m a day, and that’s not counting the impact on the private sector. We must preserve the heart of what we do in the best ways we can, so we’re in a position to rebuild when the time comes. This is the time for our trade associations to stand up for the sector. We must back them to the hilt.
Liz Terry, editor firstname.lastname@example.org @elizterry