Nine out of ten museums suffered visitors behaving badly during pandemic

More than 90% of museums and galleries have been confronted by bad behaviour among visitors during the Covid crisis.

According to research commissioned by the specialist insurer Ecclesiastical from One Poll, a third of visitors refused to obey social distancing instructions, and three in ten refused to wear facemasks.

Museums and galleries have suffered a catastrophic 15 months, closed from March to July 2020 and again from December 2020 to May 2021 and suffering an average 70% drop in income.

But when they have been able to open, the research shows, a quarter have suffered from antisocial behaviour and four on five have experienced crime.

Nearly 70% of gallery workers believe their institutions are vulnerable to crime, with cybercrime at the tip of the list, followed by verbal abuse of staff and volunteers and antisocial behaviour.

Most museums, however, introduced new measures to deter criminals, with 60% installing CCTV cameras, 40% alarms and 30% instituting security patrols.

“It’s sad to read that 92% of galleries have experienced challenging visitor behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic” said Faith Kitchen heritage director at Ecclesiastical Insurance. “While crime has decreased since Covid-19, our research found 81% of galleries have experienced a crime since the first lockdown. So it’s encouraging to see that 94% have introduced new measures to protect their organisation and deter criminals.”  

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