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Navigating Post Covid-19 for Museum Suppliers

As museums start to reopen after social distancing closed many around the globe, those companies who support them are also getting back to business and looking ahead to a period of uncertainty.

So what’s next for those suppliers who work tirelessly to help museums to do everything from plan new buildings through to writing exhibit labels.

There are positive signs

This week the UK announced a massive £1.5 billion support package for the arts. Around the world, other governments are doing the same, eager to protect institutions that they see as which are vital to tourism and prized by their local communities.

These arts bailouts will help museums to bounce back from the crisis.

Opportunities in change

For those working with museums as external suppliers, the period following museum closures offers opportunities. 

With revenue down because of lockdown, any services which can help museums to increase revenue will be of interest. At the same time, social distancing brings new challenges and a growing interest in digital.

Freelancers to the rescue

While the past three months have been challenging for freelancers, there will be more opportunities for these crucial workers as layoffs and hiring freezes leave museums scrambling for external suppliers.

Your network is often vital to getting this work, so look at how you can stay front of mind with former colleagues and clients.

Time to share

The past three months have seen those who work with museums doing some fantastic work around sharing their ideas online with more webinars, articles and helpful blog posts than ever before.

Fresh content marketing takes time, but over time it earns results and keeps your name in front of your potential customers.

If you’re writing helpful posts, look to publish these in industry publications like MuseumNext which will have a wider industry reach than Medium, LinkedIn or a personal blog.

Start selling again

Given the relentless stream of bad news, it can feel like it’s not the right time to sell your services. 

However, with museums getting back to work, many suppliers are finding a receptive audience when contacting museums.

If you’re not yet comfortable with direct sales, use your time to make your company visible in the places museums look for suppliers and get everything ready for a big marketing push.

No tradeshows, no conferences

It’s likely to be another 12 months before tradeshows and conferences are back up and running.

If that is part of your usual marketing mix, then look for alternatives online. The museum community is especially active on Twitter, while LinkedIn offers an easy way to build your network.

Most museum conferences are offering online versions with some form of networking. For example our Autumn MuseumNext Disrupt event will have its own social network to bring participants together.


While the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the museum sector hard, these cultural institutions are resilient. After all, many have been around for more than 100 years, and they will bounce back. 

Look for ways to help your clients with their recovery and help them to find innovative new ways to rise to their challenges.

About the author – Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked with the museum sector on digital and innovation projects for more than twenty years and now spends his time championing best practice through MuseumNext.

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