The response of Chile’s museums to the cultural impact of COVID-19

Figures from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) show that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of some 95% of the world's museums. This imposes major challenges on the more than 60,000 museums that have had to close their doors to the public, some of which have been able to adapt to online solutions such as virtual visits or public participation over social networks. However, this is not possible for all museums due to their limited digital infrastructure or a rise in virtual access demand. One example of swift adaptation comes from the Louvre in France, which was receiving 9.3 million visitors each year, and has recently seen virtual connections quadrupling to 400,000 per day.
Thinking about reopening, some institutions are implementing contingency plans for significantly reducing visitor numbers during the coming 18 months. According to UNESCO and ICOM* studies, more than 10% of museums may never reopen, partially due to a drop in revenue from ticket sales. This affects the continuity of thousands of jobs in conservation and restoration sites in heritage sites and museums worldwide. Preserving these cultural spaces is crucial for addressing the repercussions of the crisis and long-term challenges. In response, several governments have already announced measures to manage the social and economic implications of the pandemic, including packages specially created for the cultural sector.
Museums are more than just places where humanity's heritage is preserved and promoted. They are also key spaces of education, inspiration, and dialogue. When billions of people around the world are separated from one another, museums can bring us together.
Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture.

Social distancing and lockdown measures worldwide have cast light on the power and importance of education and culture in collective resilience, particularly for the 1.57 billion children and young people who live in 190 countries, whose schools have been closed for lengthy periods. As families adapt to the changes and stress brought on by the challenges associated with home-based learning, education and culture can help the mind travel beyond confinement limits.

In Chile, many museums have been working on online features since before the pandemic struck, and others have created content items and activities specially designed for this time of crisis. In both cases, the idea is to offer the public remote access to visits, collections, and dialogue spaces, to build the population’s social and emotional wellbeing.

"It is important to highlight how many spaces included in our registry have undertaken a wide range of actions, with great commitment and creativity, to maintain their connections with their public and their communities, despite the social distancing measures imposed during the pandemic. The buildings may be temporarily closed, but museums continue to fulfill their social, cultural, and educational role. People can use the registry website to find out about the country's more than 300 museums and access the content that they are disseminating across their virtual platforms," said Alan Trampe, Chile’s Assistant National Director of Museums.

Museums throughout the country that offer services inspired by the goal of offering access to all innovatively and securely, including actions before the COVID-19 pandemic and specific initiatives implemented in response to lockdown measures, include:


Ancud Regional Museum   
Positioned as an attractive, dynamic, efficient, and welcoming space, this museum operates a coherent collections policy. It offers relevant, attractive, and motivational services for users within the development of the unit and the community.


Artequín Museum - INACAP Antofagasta
This museum caters to all kinds of people, integrating creativity, reflection, and the development of critical thinking into each experience. It has now implemented a lockdown-inspired section on its website, sharing material on arts education for children.


Martín Gusinde Anthropological Museum
Martín Gusinde Anthropological Museum is the only museum in Puerto Williams, making it the world's southernmost museum. It inspires the community to conserve the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and Cape Horn's natural and cultural heritage. Its website features a digital collection, gallery, and publications.


Caldera Paleontological Museum
This museum educates, researches, preserves, and promotes the paleontological heritage of Caldera to generate a local identity and promote the valuation of the wealth of fossils to be found in Caldera in the  Atacama Region. Its website features fossilized animals and a map showing the geological heritage route.


Ruka kimvn Taiñ Volil-Juan Cayupi Huechicura (Cañete Mapuche Museum)
This museum's physical and virtual collection promotes and incentivizes positive valuation of the knowledge and world view of the Mapuche culture in Chilean society. Its website provides access to its digital collection, gallery, and publications.


Chiloé Modern Art Museum
This museum disseminates contemporary art in all possible manifestations, free of ideological or religious discrimination, in a dignified and independent setting. Its website provides access to its virtual exhibitions.


Aysén Regional Museum
This institution draws together, safeguards, studies, disseminates and exhibits natural and cultural heritage that distinguishes and identifies the Aysén area and everyone who has inhabited it. Its website features a digital collection and contests.


Gallery of the History of Concepción
This cultural center is located at the foot of the Cerro Caracol and in the heart of the Ecuador Park. In this place, history, heritage, the arts, cuisine, and leisure come together. Its website features a history of Concepción in dioramas and a 360° tour.

José Clemente Orozco Art House Pinacotheca
Apart from the works displayed in its halls, the Pinacotheca features a full and wide-ranging project for exchanges and exhibitions with institutions engaged in similar missions. Its website provides access to virtual visits and touring exhibitions.

Concepción Natural History Museum
This museum's mission is to be a space for participation and management of Bío Bío Region’s natural and cultural heritage. Its website features a digital collection, weekly talks, and online children’s activities.


Atacama Regional Museum
This museum rescues, records, documents, conserves, researches, values, and disseminates the cultural heritage that it safeguards, comprising collections that comprise and represent a significant part of the area's cultural identity. Its website features a digital collection.


Yahuín Museum Hall
This non-profit organization formed by Andacollo District residents sets out to protect, safeguard, and value the area's archaeological and cultural heritage. Its website features a digital collection and cultural synthesis.

Limarí Museum
This museum promotes Limarí Province's pre-Hispanic archaeological heritage to foster its valuation and contribute to its preservation, strengthening people's cultural development and local identity. Its website shows research projects on archaeology and ancient art.

Gabriela Mistral de Vicuña Museum
This museum rescues and conserves the tangible and intangible legacy of Gabriela Mistral. It researches and disseminates the literary, ethical, spiritual, historical, and social basis of her work. Its website features videos showing readings of Mistral's work by users from Chile and other countries.


Sebastián Englert Anthropological Museum - Easter Island
As part of its heritage conservation program, this museum houses all artifacts and materials from excavations conducted on the island and information drawn from these finds. Its website features a digital collection.


La Ligua Museum
This museum is a permanent space for creativity, dialogue, and civic engagement that contributes to the region's educational, artistic, and cultural development. It researches, conserves, disseminates, and teaches about the natural and cultural heritage of Petorca Province. Its website features an audio-visual archive of the museum.


Serena Archaeological Museum
This museum stands out as a community meeting hub for the historical past and modern-day anthropology of the region, stimulating the provision of testimony about our earliest origins to current and future generations. Its website features a digital collection.


La Unión Cultural Centre
This museum was created in 1998 and relaunched in 2012 by a group of culture and arts professionals and teachers from the city of La Unión to promote the district's artistic and heritage development. Its website features a dossier and photo collection of the museum.


Linares Art and Craft Museum
This modern and innovative space promotes the development and dissemination of local and regional handicrafts and visual arts, researching, conserving, and documenting all aspects of its collections. Its website provides access to its digital collection.


Fundación Cardoen Museum
This museum invites visitors to explore the roots of humanity's winemaking history and how techniques changed in the new world and Chile's wine country. Its website features photos and notes on the museum's collections of artifacts linked to wines, handicrafts, automobiles, Colchagua, and Vichuquén.


Pavilion 83 Historic Monument Community Cultural Centre
Over its history, this museum has created initiatives to restore local cultural expressions and history; its actions include implementing a wide range of training programs, organizing seminars and discussions, and holding artistic-cultural events. Its website provides access to its documentation center.


Paine Memorial, a place for remembrance
This institution promotes collective memory and human rights, strengthening social participation and cultural development in the Paine community. It promotes the development of a democratic culture in Chilean society. The museum's website provides access to videos and files.


Northern Chile Religious Living Museum
This museum sets out to strengthen the religious identity of the Northern Chilean community, fostering identity self-awareness, valuing their heritage, preserving it, and developing it in a harmonious link with tradition. Its website provides access to its photo gallery, videos, and audio files.


Rancagua Regional Museum
This museum rescues, conserves, researches, and disseminates the different lifestyles that have coexisted in this region, making this knowledge and heritage available for people and development to help strengthen regional identity and memory. Its website provides access to its digital collection.


Fundación Neruda
This foundation preserves and disseminates the poet's artistic, humanist, and literary legacy, setting out to cultivate and propagate the arts and letters. Its website shows photos, publications, and information of interest on the Fundación Pablo Neruda Museum Houses: Isla Negra, La Chascona, and La Sebastiana.

Museum of Memory and Human Rights
This museum was created to foster educational initiatives, inviting understanding and reflection. Its new online platform was created during the lockdown to disseminate and facilitate navigation through the museum's content and collections and interaction with its visitors.

Artequin Museum
This living space incentivizes art and creativity appreciation amongst its visitors through an educational and participatory methodology and museum philosophy. Its education area develops a range of art education materials to entertain and enjoy art and culture at home.

Museo Nacional Bellas Artes
This museum's mission is to contribute to the knowledge and dissemination of artistic practices in the visual arts. Its new #artenecuarentena initiative, launched during the pandemic lockdown, features printable coloring sheets and a pattern to print, color, cut out, and assemble a model of the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Londres 38 space of memories
This institution establishes a link between our history and modern times through reflection, discussion, and cultural creation. Its mission is also to advance truth and justice as fundamental pillars of building a democratic society. Its website provides access to its animated drawings and traces of remembrance.

MAC Quinta Normal
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) sets out to explore new artistic options, with a collection, curatorial philosophy, and domestic and international guest exhibitions that articulate a contemporary outlook. Its website features interviews with a wide range of artists.

Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
This museum integrates and pays homage to a New World without borders, reflected in each piece in its collection, which represents more than fifty indigenous peoples and pre-Columbian cultures. Its website features indigenous videos, images, sounds of the Americas, online exhibitions, and education content.

San Francisco Museum of Colonial Art
This museum invites visitors to enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of Colonial Andean Art. Its halls and gardens filled with history make a true oasis in the capital city. Its website features educational guides with activities and coloring images about colonial art, San Francisco, and Gabriela Mistral.

Museum of Contemporary Art
This university institution has a mission of harboring the diversity of trends that form part of our cultural life, promoting ongoing debate and theoretical reflection about all human knowledge areas. Its website provides access to interviews with several artists.

Tomás Lago Museum of American Folk Art
MAPA is a place that establishes a range of relations with contemporary art, inviting modern artists to work with its collection to create unexpected crossovers. Its website features pages on exhibitions, online studies, and live-streamed workshops.

Museum of Decorative Arts
This museum promotes how decorative art objects transform the world around us through a wide range of processes that highlight their aesthetic and material condition. Its website features digital collections and content for self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Science and Technology Museum
This museum awakens and promotes an interest in studying, understanding, and experimenting in science and technology. Its website provides access to an astronomy manual and information relating to science and technology.

Lutherie and Organology Museum
The Lutherie and Organology Workshop-House Museum is a space dedicated to the creation, transmission of knowledge, dissemination, and valuation of Chilean and Latin American musical instrument makers' work. Its website features audio-visual material.

Museum of Sound. History of music recording and reproduction
This museum disseminates and promotes the valuation of the history of sound reproduction through the conservation and exhibition of a heritage collection of gramophones and phonographs. Its website provides access to sections for learning about sound and its parameters, as well as practical activities.

Domingo De Toro Herrera War of the Pacific Foundation Museum
This museum is a permanent space for research, exhibition, conservation, restoration, and compilation regarding the history of the Pacific War. It informs visitors about all aspects involving the period's history, traditions, customs, and tangible and intangible heritage. Its website provides access to a gallery of historical images.

Chilean Police Historical Museum
This museum rescues, conserves, researches, exhibits, and disseminates historic heritage relating to police work and the Chilean Police Force, following its mission as a non-formal educational body. Its website provides access to short animated historical documentaries.

Dominican Historical Museum
This museum conserves and disseminates the Dominican order's heritage legacy, showcasing the lives of the monks as well as their educational and religious works in Chile and throughout Latin America. Its website provides access to its digital collection of liturgical vestments and textiles.

Mirador Interactive Museum
This space offers an experience of wonder, curiosity, and closeness to science, with a playful, interactive, and autonomous exploration-based educational philosophy. Its website provides access to its fun science and experimentation activities to do at home.

National Natural History Museum
This museum helps understand biodiversity and generates knowledge and valuation of Chile's natural and cultural heritage through memorable experiences. Its website provides access to its digital collections and its institutional and heritage gallery.
Violeta Parra Museum
The Violeta Parra Museum is a space that houses both the memory and the creative legacy of the artist, together with documentation on her life and works, with a particular emphasis on educational development. Its website features a digital collection of arpillera tapestries, oil paintings, and paper-mâché works.

Chile Planetarium
The Chile Planetarium helps awaken critical thinking in audiences of all ages through surprising experiences in the country's only audio-visual dome. Its website features fanzines, secret videos of the universe, and films.

Eduardo Frei Montalva House Museum
This museum showcases the personality, lifestyle, and vocation to public service of former president Eduardo Frei Montalva through transforming his former home into an educational and cultural institution. Its website provides access to educational guides and a collection of paintings, objects, and garments of his time.

San Miguel Open-Air Museum
This museum disseminates the collective expression of street art in Chile, mixing graffiti and mural techniques with original works by leading domestic and international artists, including emerging talent and well-known names. Its website features a gallery of murals and videos and a Google Arts and Culture tour.

Museum of Visual Arts
The Museum of Visual Arts has consolidated its position as a highly prestigious independent space in the field of contemporary art, mediating between contemporary art and the community. Its website features a collective exhibition gallery and activities for families, seniors, and people with reading difficulties.  

Gabriela Mistral Education Museum
This museum critically contributes to the discussion, free-thinking, and awareness of the multiple dimensions and tensions in Chile's socio-educational processes. Its website provides access to remote talks and its digital collection.

Salvador Allende Solidarity Museum
The Salvador Allende Solidarity Museum is a contemporary and modern art museum that houses one of Latin America's most significant collections. Its web space provides access to its online collection.

César Leyton Chemistry and Pharmacy Museum
This museum safeguards heritage linked to the chemical and pharmaceutical sciences in Chile by gathering, conserving, researching, and disseminating its holdings, with the goal of democratizing the information contained in its collections. Its website provides access to the museum's online memory.

Chilean Circus Museum
Born of a personal quest by circus performer and actor Héctor Valencia Rocco, this museum sets out to showcase the legacy of the traditional circus arts within Chile. Its website provides access to images showing the history of Chilean circuses.

National Historical Museum
This museum helps the national and international community access understanding of the country's history, allowing recognition of the diverse identities that make it up and have given it form. Its website provides access to a virtual tour of the museum and historic photographs.

Las Condes Interactive Audio-visual Museum
This space is specially designed to allow visitors to make an interactive and audio-visual tour, with a full experience of participatory and experiential learning. Its website provides access to a virtual exhibition, a range of online games, and a 360° visit to the museum.

Interactive Jewish Museum of Chile
The Interactive Jewish Museum of Chile informs, disseminates, and educates the public as a whole, and secondary school students in particular, about the history of the Jewish People in the context of universal history and their impact on Western culture. Its website features videos and texts about history and the holocaust.

Chilean National Firefighters' Museum
This unit gathers together knowledge and tools linked to the historical, cultural heritage of fire companies and the fire department to meet needs in this area. Its website provides access to its digital library.

Workshop Museum
This museum offers classes in carpentry, lutherie, and restoration, as well as traveling exhibitions, meetings for woodwork aficionados, talks by experts, artists' and craftspersons’ residencies, and other related features. Its website features activity guides for home woodworking.

Villa Grimaldi Peace Park
With a site-based approach, this is one of the world's museums located in remembrance areas and former torture, detention, and execution centers. It is guided by the principles of critical museum philosophy and cultural heritage management. Its website provides access to a virtual visit, its oral archive, and Villa Grimaldi Radio.

Del Carmen Museum
This museum is a space for experiencing Chile's artistic, military, religious, and social history. Its website provides access to its online permanent collection and exhibition, as well as downloads of activities to do at home with educational materials.


Talagante Museum
This museum supports the arts and dissemination of culture, setting out to form the cultural backbone of the district and province, promoting different local artistic expressions, and safeguarding cultural heritage and diversity. Its website provides access to a virtual tour of the museum.


Araucanía Regional Museum
This museum's role is to conserve, research, disseminate, and value the different forms of cultural heritage that coexist in the region across different times and spaces, contributing reflectively and purposefully to the construction of local histories and memories. Its website provides access to its digital collection.


Castillo de Niebla Site Museum
This museum sets out to offer a balanced response to the challenges involved in conserving the historical monument that it serves and that defines it. Its website features a virtual guided tour, virtual meetings, and articles.

Valdivia Contemporary Art Museum
The MAC aspires to "Be a Southern outlook on the visual arts" from an avant-garde viewpoint. It helps to safeguard a fragment of Valdivia’s collective memory and history. Its website provides access to a photo exhibition and a wide range of activities.

R. A. Philippi Exploration Museum
This museum exhibits the works of thinker Rudolph Amandus Philippi with valuable heritage collections, illustrating the importance of naturalists in the rise of science in Chile. Its website features videos, games, and a photo gallery.


Valparaíso Cultural Park
Valparaíso Cultural Park is an architectural complex built on the Cerro Cárcel hill, dedicated to showcasing local artistic practices, with outstanding infrastructure for dance, music, theatre, and circus performance. Its website provides access to videos, its radio station, and online activities.

Valparaíso Natural History Museum
This museum preserves, safeguards, and disseminates heritage ranging from biological to socio-cultural aspects to bring about positive change in its perception, valuation, and protection. Its website offers downloads of coloring images, access to a public digital library, and digital childhood and gender resources.

Valparaíso Museum of Fine Arts (Baburizza Museum)
This institution stands for the care, safeguarding, and dissemination of a significant collection of paintings that the city has been amassing since 1895, under the curatorship of Chilean master Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma. Its website features games, temporary exhibitions, and coloring sheets.

Mirador de Lukas Museum
This space is dedicated to exhibiting the artist's works. Its permanent collection showcases a selection of Pecchenino’s works from his 30-year career as an illustrator and artist. Its website provides access to books on the history of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.


Viña del Mar Artequín Museum
This educational art museum is dedicated to bringing children together with art history, using fun and participatory methodology complemented with reproductions of artworks. Its website provides access to online workshops.

*Source: Museum Register of Chile (, Department of Museums, National Cultural Heritage Service, as of 28/04/2020.
*Source: CULTURE & COVID-19 27 May 2020 | Issue 7 Impact & Response Tracker.