Survey Results Are In: Covid Re-Opening Preparedness

Thanks to all who completed AAO’s Re-Opening Readiness Survey this past April. Twenty percent of the AAO member base responded to this questionnaire assessing the state of our respective organizations’ near-future planning, and concerns around preparing for re-opening to staff, the public, and the eventual arrival of in-person and hybrid programming. A summary of results is below.

1. This spring, organizations are clearly gearing up to head back to the office:

  • 73% of survey respondents report that some staff are already regularly working in the office.
  • By fall, 27% of respondents anticipate a full return of their workforce to the office by fall.
  • On a related note, we did not specifically inquire about staff vaccination rates at member organizations, but 40% of respondents did report that their organizations are making an effort to track staff vaccination status.
  • Smaller organizations, meanwhile, have found success with remote set-ups, as 6% of respondents expect to remain in a fully remote work mode through fall 2021.

2. Organizations are gearing up for in-person programs and events:

  • This summer, 86% of respondents report they will be conducting some manner of in-person programs (we presume these are largely outdoor activities). The number falls back to 73% when considering in-person programs this fall.
  • Still, 53% of organizations reporting say their indoor facilities and galleries remain fully closed to public visitors at this time (though we expect this number to change significantly in the coming months).

3. Not surprisingly, organizations’ biggest area of curiosity and foreseeable challenge is hybrid programming (events concurrently offered to in-person and livestreamed audiences):

  • Largest concerns include technical complexities, added costs, and skill gaps in organizations' current workforce. 67% of respondents say they are actively considering the purchase of upgraded A/V equipment, and another 33% even looking to hire A/V staff or contractors.
  • Meanwhile, only 33% of respondents report already having (or high confidence that they will be) surveying their members and audiences to assess comfort levels for in-person programming.
  • And on a related topic, 60% of respondents have indicated their organizations have readjusted their pricing schemes in 2021 (we presume to charge higher ticket fees for virtual programs).

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this survey and review the results. If you’d like to connect with peer organizations around the specifics of their re-opening plans, please contact us at

Posted by Mary.Fichtner on May 28, 2021 - 7:04am