Coverage of COVID-19’s Impact on the Art World

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As governments attempt to mitigate the spread of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19), many countries have ordered museums to shutter temporarily.

Below is a useful list organized by country, made by, of major institutions that have closed in response to the outbreak.



Museums and heritage sites across Italy, the country most affected by the virus after China, will be closed until at least April 3 following an emergency decree from the Italian government on 8th of March. This move means a long-awaited exhibition dedicated to Raphael at Rome’s Scuderie del Quirinale, marking the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance painter's death, will remain closed until new government advice is issued. The show was due to run until 2nd of June. The Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini tweeted that the closures are "a necessary and painful choice", and called on all cultural operators to "make the most of their social networks and sites". The Vatican Museums are also closed until further notice in keeping with Italian policy. This year's Venice Architecture Biennale will run for three instead of six months, after the opening was postponed from 23rd of May until 29th of August.

Spain's government decreed a national emergency on 14th of March for a two-week extendable period, ordering the closure of all entertainment venues, including cultural institutions and sports facilities. The ministry of culture and sports had already closed state museums and archives around the country, the second worst affected by Covid-19 in Europe, including the Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums in Madrid, the El Greco Museum in Toledo and the Altamira National Museum and Research Centre in Santillana del Mar. Officials of the Basilica de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona have indefinitely suspended construction works on and visits to the monument. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao also closed on 14th of March.


In Germany, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation said Berlin's state museums would close from 14th of March until at least 19th of April. Palaces and stately homes in Berlin and Brandenburg will also close, and the 11th Berlin Biennale is suspended. The German capital had already closed theatres and concert venues accommodating more than 500 people. However, staff at the Jewish Museum in Berlin say they are still "working at full speed" to complete the new permanent exhibition and children's museum ANOHA as scheduled by mid-May. Germany's culture minister Monika Grütters has promised government financial help to cultural institutions and artists whose income is threatened by the coronavirus, describing it as a "massive burden" for the arts sector.

Museum directors in Austria decided to close all federal public museums until at least the end of March, in response to sweeping precautionary measures announced by the government, including a ban on arrivals from Italy and large events.


In line with France's ban on gatherings of more than 100 people, effective March 13, French museums including the Musée du Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Centre Pompidou and Grand Palais in Paris, and the Palace of Versailles, are closed until further notice. The Eiffel Tower will also be closed. The Louvre, the world's most visited museum, had previously announced that only visitors with pre-booked online tickets would be guaranteed entry. All advance tickets will now be reimbursed, according to a museum statement.

The Netherlands has also imposed a ban on gatherings exceeding 100 people, triggering the closures of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Mauritshuis in the Hague, among others, until March 31. The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam is expected to reopen on 1st of April. The federal government of Belgium has ordered the suspension of all cultural activities from 14th of March until 3rd of April, "regardless of the size of the event and whether they are public or private".


All museums in Poland, including the Auschwitz Memorial, will remain closed by government order until March 25, along with schools, universities, theatres and cinemas. On March 12, the Czech Republic declared a 30-day state of emergency, suspending public access to galleries and libraries and prohibiting all public and private cultural events involving more than 30 people.

Portugal has declared a national emergency until April 9, prohibiting events with more than 1,000 people indoors and more than 5,000 people outdoors. The city of Lisbon has closed municipal museums, galleries, libraries and theatres. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum will be closed until April 3 and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology until a date to be announced.

With Denmark in official lockdown, enforcing a travel ban on non-Danes until April 14, cultural institutions including the National Museum, National Gallery and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art will be closed until at least 27th of March. The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen says it will be closed until at least March 30.

Following public health recommendations in Sweden, Stockholm's Nationalmuseum and Moderna Museet remain open but are limiting visitor numbers to 500 at a time. All events are cancelled or postponed. Norway's Directorate of Health has banned all cultural events, leading the Munch Museum in Oslo to close until further notice. Irish museums including the four sites of the National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin will be closed until 29th of March, as well as large theatres.

Greece's ministry of culture announced that the country's museums and archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, are closed through the end of March.

United Kingdom

South London Gallery

In advance of formal advice from the UK government, the Wellcome Collection in London, which focuses on the intersection between health and culture, said on March 13 that it would "begin a staggered closure to staff and visitors" from 17th of March, "and then remain closed until further notice". The South London Gallery is closed from 15th of March until further notice, while the Photographers' Gallery in London is reducing opening hours and cancelling any events scheduled outside these hours.


As Russia braces for the impact of the pandemic, the director of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Anton Belov, announced the "very difficult decision" to close the museum, education centre, library and archive in Gorky Park, effective March 14.

North America


Led by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a flurry of US museums announced on March 12 that they were shutting down, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Frick Collection, the Brooklyn Museum, the Neue Galerie, the New Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Queens Museum and the Drawing Center in New York. Joining the list later on are the Morgan Library and Museum, the American Folk Art Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Noguchi Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem and El Museo del Barrio.

Four Boston-area institutions announced their decision to close jointly: the Harvard Art Museums, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. The National Gallery of Art is closing in Washington, DC, and the Smithsonian Institution is shutting its museums in Washington and New York. The Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Cleveland Museum of Art are shutting down. The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas are closing as well. Rounding out the list are many more college museums, as a growing number of schools shut down their campuses and shift to online classes.

De Young

On the West Coast, the Broad, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles are all temporarily closed. San Francisco's Asian Art Museum, Fine Arts Museums (comprising the De Young Museum and the Legion of Honour) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). According to a joint announcement, the Asian Art Museum and SFMOMA aim to reopen on 28th of March, followed by the Fine Arts Museums on March 31. The Seattle Art Museum and Portland Museum of Art are now also closed.


Museums and art galleries in the southeastern state of Victoria will be closed from 16th of March, including the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). According to the gallery's website, both NGV International and NGV Australia will reopen on 13th of April.



In better news, Asian museums are beginning to reopen after aggressive lockdowns, quarantines and testing regimes were enforced earlier this year to contain the spread of the virus. For details, see more here. Amid a spike in coronavirus cases in Indonesia, Museum MACAN in Jakarta temporarily closed on 14th of March until a reopening date will be announced.

Check a continually-updated list, here.


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This article has been edited by The Art Dose.


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