As the impact of COVID-19 emerged in early 2020 and physical movement was restricted as a public health measure, digital media consumption behaviour changed dramatically. The accelerated move to online consumption increased the urgency for memory institutions such as museums to introduce new ways to digitally experience cultural collections. This research aimed to understand how memory institutions adapted during COVID-19 lockdowns by surveying the existing and novel digital resources that enabled access to cultural heritage organizations. The research was conducted during the UK lockdown period (April-July 2020) when we collected and analysed data from 83 heritage institutions in the UK and in the USA regarding the number, type, format, intended audience and intended aims of digital engagement opportunities they offered. The analysis evidences how different types of memory institutions responded to social need during the lockdown by supporting online visitors with resources such as educational material, live events and creative activities, and highlights where museums have acted effectively and where changed approaches are indicated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-361
Number of pages25
JournalMuseum Management and Curatorship
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2020


  • COVID-19
  • digital technologies
  • survey
  • memory institutions
  • audiences
  • multimedia content

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