Museum profitable despite COVID-19

PreHistoric Village
Photo credit: PreHistorisch Dorp/Studio040

Eindhoven Museum is closing this year in the black. That’s remarkable considering how hard the corona crisis has hit these kinds of institutions.

Eindhoven Museum includes places like the preHistorisch Dorp (preHistorical Village). De Museum door de Stad (The Museum throughout the City), also falls under this museum’s wing. This was held as part of the city’s centenary celebrations.

Despite the global pandemic, the preHistorical Village had a relatively good year. Ward Rennen, the Museum’s director, is therefore satisfied. “We had to close for two months.”

Fewer visitors

‘So, instead of seven, we were only open for five months. Even so, the number of visitors remained the same. This year, there were 31.000. That’s compared to the 40.000 last year when we were open for the full seven months.”

To explain the relatively high number of visitors, the director attributes this success to the Village’s layout. “We’re an open-air museum. A lot of people didn’t go away this summer.

“They were looking for safe outdoor activities. An open-air museum, with this space is an attractive outing.”

Far fewer school visits

The corona crisis did undoubtably affect other visitor numbers.  “Last year there were 16,000 school kids who visited. This year there were only 3,300. So, that’s where you can see the main decline,” says Ward.

That’s reflected in the museum’s financial picture. “We’re losing between €150.000 and €200,000 in income.” However, the Museum wouldn’t have been profitable without government support.

“We’ve received various government aid like NOW 1 and 2. We also receive subsidies from the Eindhoven Municipality. We got money from the the Mondriaan Fund too.” This is a national public fund for visual art and cultural heritage.

Cut back costs

“Without this income, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve a positive result,” admits Ward. But that’s the case. Not least because the museum cut its budget right at the start of the crisis.

“We cut back on several things. We cut our budgeting and programming budgets. That was even before we knew there’d it be support packages from the government.”

“We terminated six seasonal workers’ contracts too. They were still on probation at the time. That’s no fun, but we had to do it. Fortunately, some of those people had work with us in the summer,” says Rennen.

Good news

All in all, Eindhoven Museum is in a good place. “I’m not worried at all about the continued existence of the institution. That we have something left over at the end of the year is also good news. Because the crisis’ effects will still be felt next year.”

Rennen can’t yet say exactly how much profit there is. “We might have to repay some of the government support. We’ve used the NOW scheme.”

“But we have had good months in the summer. Exactly things will develop will only become clear later,” the director says.

Source: Studio040

Translator: Bob

Editor: Melinda Walraven

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