New Zealand's museums and galleries expect the funders they rely on will divert money into health and social services and away from cultural causes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These are among the key findings in a survey that Museums Aotearoa conducted in April, during the lockdown period.
Museums Aotearoa chief executive Phillipa Tocker says it's also expected membership subscriptions will decline because of the economic recession and philanthropic funds will shrink due to lower investment returns.
Several museums were in the midst of major capital works including earthquake strengthening when the lockdown started, and they fear there will be no funding available to continue these vital projects.
The institutions that responded to the survey aren't named but some of the biggest strengthening and building projects under way are at Whanganui's historic Sarjeant Gallery and Rotorua Museum.
Tocker said staffing was also a significant concern among the surveyed museums.
Of the 107 respondents, 71 percent had paid staff and 29 percent were run by volunteers.
Of the museums with paid staff, many had successfully applied for the government employee wage subsidy package.
Many museums had put staff who were not able to work from home, like front of house, on paid leave, but were concerned they would have to review this if the wage subsidy is not extended beyond mid-June.
For many museums and galleries, a big part of their funding comes from hiring out their premises for functions. The survey showed if this can't resume within the next few months it could also impact on staffing.
Tocker said most museums and galleries depend on funding from local councils, many of which were already asking them to cut costs and in some cases reducing funding before the pandemic struck.
She said they are pinning their hopes on a support package in the upcoming Budget.
It's not practical for most museums to open at level 2 because of the extra costs involved in areas like extra cleaning and staff costs, she said.
Tocker expects it could take at least a year until the institutions are able to generate income from sources such as venue hire, retail sales and cafes.
While most museums do not charge general admission, for some it's their main source of income.
She's said it's too soon to know how long it will be until the public has the confidence to gather together in public spaces.
Many museums report that they are enjoying coming up with innovative ways to connect with their communities online.
Of museums with paid staff, 60 percent have or are considering increasing their online learning programmes, and 54 percent have or are looking into more online exhibitions.
But over 30 percent of museums report a lack of digital and online capacity with both skills and equipment, which means they can't proceed with much-needed digital projects.
On a positive note, Tocker said while many museums expect to be closed for some months, they remain confident they will survive the tough times ahead.
She makes the point that museums have been created to care for their collections for perpetuity so closing them down is not an option.
Museums Aotearoa, Te Tari o Ngā Whare Taonga o Te Motu, is the independent professional association for New Zealand's museums and galleries and those who work for them.