Queensland Maritime Museum Statement – 15 November 2020

You may have seen some media articles about Queensland Maritime Museum facing an uncertain future.

It is no secret that the Covid-19 lockdown hit QMM hard, reducing our income from visitor entrance fees to zero for seven months.

Staff and volunteers worked incredibly hard to create a Covid Safe Plan so we could re-open in mid-September.

We were tracking at 30% of regular patronage, which is in line with other museums and galleries upon re-opening.

However, the costs for QMM to open – including power, water and cleaning – were more than what we were receiving in entrance fees. We are functionally saving more than $20,000 per month by being closed, and it would be financially irresponsible to open with this imbalance.

Our closure at the start of November was therefore prompted by a need to examine current operations and work on a plan for 2021 and beyond.

This obviously includes reaching out to stakeholders in government and business to assist with QMM’s ongoing viability, and discussions are ongoing. A museum of QMM’s size needs a skeleton staff of 9.5 FTE (full time equivalent), and to achieve this, we need an operational budget of $1.2 million per year.

QMM has a vast collection of artefacts that have been carefully maintained by its membership since its inception in 1971.

With the 50th anniversary of the museum’s founding next year, it is important to respect the members’ work through the decades to preserve and protect the collection.

Statement by Emma Di Muzio, CEO – Friday 6 November 2020

Queensland Maritime Museum is currently closed to regular visitors as the Board and management consider new strategies to sustain operations and preserve the museum’s extensive collection.

We are concerned about the viability of the Museum and as a result are monitoring our financial position carefully. As outlined in an email to members on Friday 6 November that we may need to make difficult decisions if things don’t improve.

QMM received three instalments of $200,000 from the Queensland Government for the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years.

This funding was gratefully received and had helped to start turning the Museum’s fortunes around, with slowly increasing visitor numbers and new external partnerships being developed.

However, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on operations. Visitor entrance fees are the Museum’s primary source of income, and we were forced to shut from late March until mid-September.

Many of our volunteers are older and in the Covid-19 vulnerable category, so have been unable to be onsite. QMM has only two full-time paid staff.

We are continuing to work with stakeholders including all levels of Government to ensure the Museum’s future.