The COVID-19 Impact on Museum Consulting

As COVID-19 moves across the country, every sector of the museum workforce feels the  pandemic’s power from the still employed, but working from home, to the temporarily suspended, to the recently let go. Every day museums and historic sites announce closures and massive layoffs, leaving many to wonder how museums will recover. One sector not much has been written about is independent consultants. Not museum employees who consult sporadically, but the group who work independently across the field in collections, education, governance, art handling and more. They work from job to job, shouldering the full costs of benefits, building careers while offering services many museums and heritage organizations need, but can’t afford on a full-time basis.

Being a consultant means you need to take work when it’s offered because a month from now when your calendar opens up the offer may have evaporated. It means your rates need to account for your business expenses, Social Security benefits and health care. It means working from home, punctuated by travel is your normal. And it means your access to COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program is delayed ’til April 10. Amidst the tidal wave of museum layoffs and closures, we checked in with a group of consultants to see how they’re doing. Here are their voices:

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2 Comments on “The COVID-19 Impact on Museum Consulting”

  1. Danielle Trynoski says:

    Thank you for compiling these perspectives. I recently stepped away from the museum field into a corporate events marketing position, but between my career experience and current position there was something from each consultant that resonated with me. From events getting postponed to 2021, to the guilt of sending out invoices that may or may not be able to get paid, to hearing colleagues struggle with the working-from-home dynamic. Hearing that others are struggling with similar things is reassuring.

  2. Tracy Murphy says:

    I know these posts are ad supported. Do you have any say at all in what those ads are? I really want to vomit seeing a partisan, pro Trump post i\on this page. I’m giving you personally the benefit if the doubt, but the partisan ad – regardless of party is in really bad taste


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