Coronavirus COVID-19 information for MA members

[last updated Wednesday 20 May, 4pm]  

Museums Aotearoa supports all our members and their whanau as we all work through the challenges of this evolving global pandemic. Our first priority is our people - staff, volunteers, visitors and the wider community.

Now that we are in Pandemic Alert Level 2, some museums and galleries are re-opening, while others remain closed. 

Worksafe has released new guidelines for workplaces, including museums, under Alert Level 2

Public venues (like museums, galleries, community centres, cinemas) must keep records of staff and visitors/customers to enable contact tracing; each group of customers/visitors is capped at 10; the maximum number in the venue is set by the ability to keep individuals and groups of visitors 1 metre apart at all times.

Official advice is to stay vigilant:

  • Temporary limits on gatherings are in place. Cabinet will review Alert Level 2 restrictions on Monday, 25 May.
  • Under Alert Level 2 we can leave our bubbles and reconnect with friends and family. However, gatherings should have no more than 10 people, maintain high hygiene standards, and record all attendees to ensure contact tracing can be conducted if necessary.
  • We must stick to the rules because COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe as no-one wants a second wave. 
  • Keep your distance from other people in public and continue to practise good health etiquette – washing hands for 20 seconds and drying them well, sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face.
  • Don’t go to work or school and don’t socialise if you are not feeling well.

If you are sick or have symptoms of the coronavirus, stay home and call your GP or the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)

This page includes:


Museums in the time of coronavirus - a survey of public museums and art galleries (April 2020)

Museums Aotearoa surveyed over 100 public museums and galleries between 15 and 27 April 2020, during Covid-19 Alert Level 4 - total lockdown. Respondents were a representative sample of the sector. The main themes are:

  • concerns about the welfare of staff and volunteers
  • loss of income and financial implications
  • effects on programming and uncertainties about future public engagement

Museums still operating in Aotearoa's COVID-19 shutdown - public statement from Museums Aotearoa (25 March 2020)  

Essential Services - download information on access and security and MA guidance for museums (29 March 2020)

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi 
With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive 

MA activities

NEW Friday 22 May, 3-4.30pm Running the COVID Marathon - mental health and wellbeing in times of crisis

Friday 15 May, 1-2pm Lunchtime kaitiaki kōrero -

Friday 8 May, 3-4pm - Zoom hui: Re-opening - what can you do at Level 2? (YouTube video)

MA20 Waitangi conference - postponed until 5-7 May 2021 (tbc). We will be communicating directly with delegates and presenters.
2020 ServiceIQ NZ Museum Awards - deferred to 2021.
EMP meet-ups - cancelled
Kahui Kaitiaki - May hui cancelled, October hui on hold
AGM - postponed, new arrangements tba (8 July 2020)

Links to MA members resources.

We will be following all official advice and preventive measures. MA staff are currently working from home and carrying on business as usual as far as practical.

Keep in touch
Thank you to everyone who has responded to Museums Aotearoa surveys and messages. Please continue to contact us with any information to share, questions, concerns or suggestions, so we can raise these with government and other agencies to get the best advice and support possible for museums and galleries nationally. 


Aotearoa NZ information

NZ Government Covid-19 website - this includes guidelines for operating at the alert levels
Alert Level 2 Guidelines - includes Golden Rules for Businesses and downloadable Contract Tracing Register form
Treasury's website for details of the Economic Response Package already announced
Ministry of Health 
Ministry of Education
NEW - workplace operations at COVID-19 Alert levels, includes Q&A for different kinds of operations
NZ Wage Subsidy and Leave Support Payment Scheme
Work & Income - information for employers and employees
NEW Worksafe COVID-19 Safety Plan and Public Venues at Level 2 plus lots of other guidance, eg retail, cafes, deliveries  
Tourism Industry Aotearoa COVID-19 info - updated regularly
Go with Tourism - support for tourism industry workers and businesses
Mental Health Foundation - new resources and ways to get help
DIA Charities - advice on holding AGMs and extensions to reporting dates
DIA Local Government COVID-19 Response - includes analysis of financial implications Report #1 Initial Analysis and Report #2 scenarios 2020-21 NEW
Creative New Zealand - arts support package
Impact of COVID-19 on the Arts & Creative Sector - MCH/Infometrics
CERT NZ guidance on COVID-19 related scams

The Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) has set up a COVID-19 LG coordination unit to guide and support councils through the pandemic. Museum and gallery managers in within councils can sign up to its discussion group.

COVID-19 NZ Report infographic (Dynata, April 2020) 
Auckland Museum has shared this insight from Dynata on New Zealander's responses to the COVID-19 situation. This public opinion research is based on responses from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 New Zealanders. Some key takeaways from this research:

Other museum/gallery-related links

American Alliance of Museums - Preparing for Re-opening

When will audiences be ready to return to museums? - US Wilkening Consulting data-driven infographic

Closed by Covid-19 - Checklist for GLAMs and Historical and Heritage Sites - Blue Shield Australia & AICCM (updated 29 April 2020)

American Alliance of Museums workplace information
UK Museums Association - the ethics of contemporary collecting 
Public Health Emergencies - COSTEP MA - US state advice for cultural institutions, included collection care
American Alliance of Museums - resources pages
Museum Distance Learning - American Alliance of Museums shared resources page

Cuseum webinars - many topics eg social media, re-opening, membership strategies - watch live or view past webinars


NEW Contact Tracing Tools


NEW Resources


Caring for collections

Theatre of Hygiene concept: Make cleaning visible and regular to signal to visitors that spaces they enter and exhibitions they engage with are safe.

Tools for identifying risks, monitoring impacts, assessing Needs - ICCROM assessment templates for moveable, immoveable and intangible heritage collections.

Disinfecting Cultural Resources - US National Parks Conservator technical guidance on on techniques for collection care in COVID-19.


International websites
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organisation 

Feedback, suggestions, resources to share?
Email MA or tel +64 4 499 1313