**This page contains all the COVID-19 information and resources Sustaining Places created and linked during 2020. As the guidelines and responses to the pandemic have changed, the new Sustaining Places COVID-19 resources have been revised to reflect those changes.
Museums face a number of new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here you will find resources for your museum to cope with these challenges and to thrive during these unprecedented times. The information below is organized into resources regarding Visitors, Staff, and Collections & Museum Maintenance. Information changes rapidly, and this site will update every four months to reflect the best information available.
This page was last updated December 2020
Up-to-date information vital to ensuring the safety of staff and visitors regarding the compliance of your institution with state mandates that affect their operative status.
- State Executive Orders — COVID-19 Resources
Current information on state mandates and executive orders issued by Governors.
- State Legislation on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
State legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID-19 Updates
Recent data and analysis on COVID-19 affecting cultural institutions.
The latest COVID-19 case numbers, including national and state specific statistics for the Mid-Atlantic region. This data can help your institution make informed decisions.
COVID-19 Staff Resources
During the crises caused by the pandemic, museums must continue to serve their staff with empathy and care for their well-being. This section contains information on meeting the internal challenges in the COVID-19 crisis, such as Financial and Mental Health Resources.
COVID-19 Resources Main Page || This page was last updated December 2020
This section is designed to connect small museum administrators and museum professionals with resources that may assist in applying or federal financial assistance, or identify alternative funding sources for COVID-19 relief.
Financial Resources for Museums
- Mid-Atlantic Museums – Emergency Funding Sources
A compilation of federal and state resources for museums, largely focused on the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
- American Association of Museums – Finding Financial Relief and Support
Data on federal and independent funding opportunities, along with information for individual museum employees.
- U.S. Treasury – CARES Act Funding
Information on federal funding available for private non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees.
- Small Business Administration – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
Information about loan programs through the SBA for which nonprofits such as museums can qualify.
- Giving Compass – Coronavirus and COVID-19 Response and Relief Funds
A database of over 600 funding sources compiled by Giving Compass and the National Center for Family Philanthropy–many specifically geared towards COVID-19 relief for nonprofits.
Financial Resources for Museum Employees
- CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor) – Unemployment Benefits Finder (by state)
A tool to determine what unemployment benefits may be available to you by state and how to apply for them.
- U.S. Department of Labor – How Do I File for Unemployment Insurance?
A how-to guide explaining the intricacies of unemployment benefit programs containing information on eligibility and application processes.
- Museum Workers Speak – Museum Workers’ Relief Fund
A mutual aid fund for museum workers.
Working from Home and Work-Life Balance
- National Council on Public History – “Quar-interning”
Information on searching for and choosing a digital internship, and tips for how to successfully navigate online research and responsibilities.
- Scientific American – How to Prevent Loneliness in a Time of Social Distancing
Advice for those working in full or partial isolation, including tips for fighting loneliness and strategies for preserving mental health.
- Mayo Clinic – Work-life balance: Tips to Reclaim Control
Strategies for dealing with work-life balance during a pandemic when working from home and at the office.
Mental Health Resources
- Center for Disease Control – Coping with Stress
Strategies for coping with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic with many links to outside resources.
- Healthline – 6 Long-term Strategies for Coping with Anxiety
Resources and tips for coping with anxiety.
- CNN – How to Work from Home Without Losing Your Sanity
Tips to mitigate stress while working from home, and best ways to ensure a productive workday without becoming overwhelmed.
COVID-19 Visitor Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges to providing visitors a fulfilling museum experience. Here you will find resources for small museums and historic sites to serve their visitors during COVID-19. This section contains Safety Procedures and Digital Outreach resources.
COVID-19 Resources Main Page | | This page was last updated December 2020
Here are resources on safety considerations when reopening your institution, including establishing and maintaining social distancing policies.
- American Alliance of Museums – Preparing to Reopen
Considerations for reopening, including developing a plan, training staff, and setting up health and safety measures with additional links embedded.
- American Industrial Hygiene Association – Reopening: Guidance for Museums and Collecting Institutions
Comprehensive guide to reopening your institution from the American Industrial Hygiene Association, with particular emphasis on small and mid-sized museums.
- American Alliance of Museums – Reviewing Staff and Administrative Policies
Strategies for employers and preparing staff.
- Artnet – How Should a Museum Reopen in a Post-COVID World?
Compiled and condensed information for reopening with an interactive reopening planning tool that is broadly applicable for different types of museums.
Reaching a Digital Audience
A primary concern you might have at this time is how your institution can sustain a relationship with its publics. A digital presence can help maintain and build audiences while you determine whether to reopen or remain closed to in-person visits. Below you can find a list of resources that will help you navigate social media platforms and earn income through digital content.
Navigating Social Media Platforms
- Museum Association of New York – How to Use Your Social Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A museum and historic site primer for those new to social media and a digital audience.
- The Space’s Online Audiences Toolkit
Extensive guide to online audiences. Provides answers to legal and financial questions that your institution might face.
Earning Income through Digital Content
Links providing guidance on online event programming, including opportunities to monetize digital content:
- American Alliance of Museums – How Museums Can Generate Revenue Through Digital Content and Virtual Experiences
- American Alliance of Museums – Earning Income From Education Programs During COVID-19
Making Digital Content Accessible
Links providing guidance for creating a digital presence that is accessible:
- The American Association of People with Disabilities – Digital Accessibility in the Age of COVID-19
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center – Accessibility Tips for a Better Zoom/Virtual Meeting Experience
COVID-19 Collections & Museum Maintenance Resources
Care and upkeep of collections remain important during the COVID-19 pandemic. This section contains resources for the care and usage of collections, and practices adapted to the new cleaning policies and procedures under COVID-19. You will also find the use of collections in [digital outreach]. It is divided into three sections: Cleaning & Collections Care, Online Collections, and Building & Grounds Maintenance Care.
COVID-19 Resources Main Page | | This page was last updated December 2020
Cleaning & Collections Care
There are new challenges and concerns in collections care. Find resources below to guide you in caring for your collection while also maintaining proper COVID-19 cleaning procedures.
- REALM Project – Research
Results of tests performed by a consortium of the OCLC and IMLS on the viability of the COVID-19 on typical library, archive, and museum surfaces over time.
- NCPTT – COVID-19 Basics
Basic overview of best practices for disinfecting cultural spaces and collections:
- Canadian Conservation Institute – Caring for Heritage Collections during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Cleaning and handling procedures for heritage collections.
- American Libraries – How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic
Best practices for cleaning and safety with library collections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cleaning Museum Spaces
- MNHS Historic/Adjunct Properties – Workplace Enhanced Cleaning Guidance for COVID-19
How to care for historic buildings and museum spaces.
- Association for Library Service to Children – Best Practices for Cleaning Play and Learn Spaces
Sanitizing practices for institutions with play-places and hands-on children’s areas
While many institutions remain closed or at limited capacity, museums should still strive to connect with their audience digitally.
- Digital Archives
Making collections available online, with options for social distancing at the site.
- Digital Technology
An overview of digital technology with links to several resources.
- Social Media
A guide to social media as a museum or historic site.
Building & Grounds Maintenance Care
Find information below on how to care for and sanitize your outdoor spaces, with resources for institutions with gardens and animal collections.
- National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center – COVID-19 Exhibitry Cleaning Guidance
Guidelines on cleaning outdoor artifacts and interpretive elements.
- American Public Gardens Association – COVID-19: Resources for Gardens
General guidance of safety procedures for institutions with gardens.
- Canadian Conservation Institute – Closing a Museum for the Winter
Preparing buildings and collections for winter closures.
- Association of Zoos & Aquariums – COVID-19: Information for Zoos and Aquariums
Recommended practices for zoos, aquariums, and managed wildlife facilities in COVID-19 conditions.
- California Department of Public Health – COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Outdoor Museums and Galleries
Reopening outdoor museums and outdoor spaces.
- CDC – Guidance for Administrators in Parks and Recreational Facilities
Guidance for operating and maintaining outdoor spaces, such as parks and trails.