Museum Doors Shut & Galleries Close: The Impact of COVID on the Art World

Illustration by Himarni Brownsword

As the ongoing epidemic of coronavirus has been internationally felt, the British government and public wavered between two extreme sentiments: war-time effort or denial of the pressing reality. New measures have been announced to limit non-essential contact and unnecessary travel in order to slow the spread of the outbreak in Britain as the global death toll increases. UK citizens (and Courtauld students) are experiencing the effects of the virus with the announced shutdown of museums and libraries.

Museums and libraries have started to close for the protection of the health and wellbeing of visitors, staff and the general public. There is a growing reliance on accessing museum and library resources through online collections. The British Library closed its physical site near Kings Cross on March 17. Senate House Library closed on March 20. The V&A Museum publicly announced its temporary closure on March 18th. The Royal Academy announced its temporary closure starting at 18:00 on March 17. Those unlucky museum-goers like myself will have to wait to hopefully catch a glimpse of the current exhibition Picasso and Paper. Tate has shut all four of its galleries around the United Kingdom, including Tate Modern and Tate Britain, since M