Written by Tori Smith, Public Relations and Social Media Intern 

The world has officially passed the 3-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. From lockdown to masks to vaccines – it almost seems like the world will never go back to its “normal” form. How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect museums?  

In partnership with Wilkening Consulting, the American Alliance of Museums hosted a survey that provided a statistical snapshot of how museums across the nation managed the pandemic between Dec. 8, 2021, and Jan. 20, 2022. 

55% of respondents required face masks for older adults and young children. 30% of respondents were encouraged to wear a mask, while 4% were given no guidance at all.  

75% of respondents did not require proof of vaccine status or a negative COVID-19 test result.  

48% of respondents were required to follow state and local authorities’ policies on masking or proof of vaccination status.  

79% of respondents intended to continue sanitation practices such as hand sanitizer and free masks. 

19% of respondents pivoted toward touch-free activities.  

Here at DOMA, we hosted alliance meetings and docent training session through Zoom. Virtual meetings are still occasionally scheduled when a presenter is unable to attend in person.  

After re-opening during closure in 2020, the museum moved to a new schedule that excluded open hours on Sunday and Monday. Masks and social distancing were required.  

For several months, the museum capacity was capped at 30.  

Each Saturday, one staff member was assigned to address any concerns with the new policies.  

There are multiple ways that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the art world and the future of its innovation. Multiple museums presented virtual galleries amid the isolation.  

Internet users can travel almost anywhere they want in the world, whether that’s a handful of art museums in New Jersey, the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas, or the National Gallery in London. 

Here at DOMA, we offered several events and a gallery virtually. The Petty lecture with Jordan Schnitzer was offered over Zoom. Art in Bloom and a Final Friday event were both offered over Zoom.  

We also offered a virtual gallery tour that featured 20 women artists of the twentieth century for 2020. You can find the presentation about the tour here. 

A program in 2020 created by an interdisciplinary team at the University of Pittsburgh, tried to connect students amid the isolation. They encouraged all members of the university and community to submit artworks that answered the question: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you stayed connected and maintained community connections?” 18 participants responded and created works with various mediums, such as painting, filmmaking and more.  

Here at DOMA, we offered a virtual summer reading group to maintain contact with docents.  

Docent training incorporated virtual tours with docents at other institutions. We continue to collaborate with other museums virtually several times a year. 

When tours resumed, guided tours were restricted to small groups of about 10.  

As always, thank you for reading the DOMA insider and make sure to visit the museum soon! DOMA is free and open to the public; we are open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Check out our website at bsu.edu/doma.