This chapter addresses how the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is obliging museums to rethink their strategies towards new models of audience involvement and economic sustainability. The pandemic has accelerated the convergence between the digital and physical experience of heritage-related services and will give the local audience and proximity tourism more prominence as a source of stability for museum activities.
Two seminal proposals that emerged in the Italian debate during the COVID-19 crisis provide insights into how museums and heritage institutions need to adapt their strategies to cope with such structural change. In particular, the two strategies refer to shifting from a transactional to a relationship orientation towards their audience and exploring new network governance models to fully exploit the opportunities provided by the integration between digital and onsite services. We argue that membership schemes to museum networks can reach these complementary objectives and discuss an illustrative application of this proposal for the network of Italian State Museums.