By Sabila Duhita Drijono, GEM Evaluation & Digital Support Volunteer
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, museums are temporarily forced to shut their doors to the public. The unprecedented situation is pushing museums to find alternative ways to engage with their audiences – one of the ways is by shifting their activities to digital platforms.
In addition to maximising their digital database and social media presence, several museums are opening up their collections to the public through virtual tours, such as the VR 360° tour by the National Gallery or Royal Academy of Arts, and digital commission programmes such as the ones completed by the British Museum and Serpentine Galleries. ArtFund has also come with a list of digital exhibitions that museum lovers can enjoy from the comforts of their home. Other exciting opportunities to engaged include Instagram Live workshops and free online courses, such as the ones offered by MoMA, are becoming more popular due to the high demand for cultural activities that do not require travelling.
While these efforts were done at an institutional level, what can we do as museum educators on an individual basis?
An interesting example of an engaging digital activity can be seen with #MuseumFromHome, a Twitter project initiated by a group of museum professionals currently working from home including Dan Vo, Sacha Coward, and Sheldon Goodman. The project encourages people who work in museums to share their favourite object from museum archives or their personal artefacts in a 60-second video on social media platforms, using the hashtag #MuseumFromHome. From its launch in March, the project has featured many contributions, which were created not only by museum professionals, but everyone who shares the love in museums, galleries, and heritage.
Working in partnership with the Museums Association, Art Fund, and National Museum Directors’ Council, #MuseumFromHome will be featured by BBC Culture’s ‘Culture in Quarantine’ section on Thursday, April 30, 2020. The programme will highlight and promote contents under the same hashtag from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
Building up to the big day, a lineup of guests is going live every 12.30 pm on co-founder Dan Vo’s personal Twitter from Friday, April 24. The list includes Joe Galliano from Queer Britain, V&A’s LGBTQ Tour, Professor Sue Sanders from LGBT+ History Month, Barnaby Edwards, Jessica Turtle from Museum of Homelessness, and Thanh Sinden from Museum Detox.
Have you come across any interesting artefacts or museums, gallery, and heritage-related projects on social media during the lockdown?
Now is the best time to share them!
(Photo courtesy of #MuseumFromHome)