According to Unesco, 89 percent of countries have partially or fully closed their cultural heritage sites during the pandemic, causing millions of dollars in revenue losses for cultural institutions and museums.
“We have to work together with activists and professionals from all disciplines to protect these cultural heritage sites during the pandemic. Historians and archaeologists can’t do it on their own,” Restu Gunawan, the ministry’s director for cultural development, said on Monday.
One thing the sites’ management has been doing rather well is using digital platforms to keep the sites “open” and accessible to the public, Restu said.
“We have 175 million internet users in Indonesia. It’s a potentially huge market for cultural heritage sites and museums,” he said in a teleconference.
The management have also been organizing a series of promotional activities, including an online drawing competition for children as part of Unesco’s global social media campaign #ShareOurHeritage and #ShareCulture.
Museums and historic sites have also been offering 360-degree virtual tours during the pandemic, which seem to be quite popular as long as they’re complemented with strong stories, he said.
Pahadi, an archaeologist from the East Java Cultural Heritage Preservation Center (BPCB Jatim), said the government should not only focus on the tourism and economic aspects of cultural heritage sites but instead design a comprehensive program to protect and preserve them.
To keep cultural heritage sites and museums sustainable, the government must find a way to start monetizing them through digital platforms, Restu said.
“We plan to create a grand design to monetize these sites and museums through digital platforms. They need to make money. It’s crucial for their sustainability after the pandemic,” he said.