Museums, galleries struggling to stay open during Covid-19 outbreak
Some have seen a more than 90 per cent drop in the number of visitors
Museums and galleries have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
The National Heritage Board (NHB), which operates the National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum and other galleries in Singapore, told The New Paper that visits or traffic has dropped drastically over the past few weeks.
As per the safe distancing measures announced by the Ministry of Health on March 24, all public programmes or guided tours at NHB institutions have been suspended till April 30.
Mr Tay Tong, director of visual arts for the National Arts Council (NAC), said: "The entire arts and cultural sector has been significantly affected by Covid-19. The visual arts, and its galleries, both commercial and non-profit, have seen a drop in footfall."
The Red Dot Design Museum (RDDM) will shut this month as the number of visitors has dropped to less than 5 per cent of what it used to be.
A spokesman told TNP that it has lost student groups since restrictions on learning journeys started in February.
"For tourists, it has been a fast drop to nobody (last) week."
Located in Marina Boulevard, RDDM saw an 83 per cent drop in revenue since the outbreak began.
The spokesman said operation costs amount to around $130,000 a month, causing the company to turn to its reserves.
RDDM said the outbreak has been especially difficult for private museums, as they do not receive state funding.
Mr Solaiyappan Ramanathan, director of the Vintage Camera's Museum at Jalan Kledek, said it will close this month after seeing a 90 per cent drop in visitors. He said: "Small museums like us put our own money into keeping the place going. These are the times we need to be supported."
While National Gallery remain open, its spokesman said they have had 40 per cent fewer visitors since the outbreak began.
To cope with the drop in numbers, it is offering free admission until the end of this month.
The Government's social distancing measures led it to suspend tours and remove official receptions to prevent crowding.
Museum tours have also been suspended at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.
Its spokesman said: "At Future World, for instance, three artworks that typically see crowds congregating will be temporarily unavailable."
Mr Tay of NAC said galleries in Gillman Barracks are operating by appointment only, while others are opting for digital solutions.
"NAC is also working with other government agencies to see how we can bring more of our arts to Singaporeans through digital means," he said.
"Also, as announced in the Resilience Budget, more financial support for the arts and culture sector in the form of grants and wage support is forthcoming."