This going digital aspect of how Museums are addressing the Corona outbreak is only now starting out as we’re realizing that we’ll be in this for a while, but it is already looking like it’ll be a powerful movement. Just like how the Museum Duck War of 2019 and Cowboy Tim are bringing museums to the forefront of viral Twitter feeds and national news, I think these videos will put museums on people’s radar and pique interest to keep in touch and visit in person once the restrictions lift.
By the end of this event, I'm sure many of us will have a litany of new digital skills - video chatting, using Zoom, Facebook Live, email, messenger apps, the whole shebang. Museums and other cultural institutions are right there with you learning how to use these tools as well!
One of the things I’ve been looking at was how different museums are doing virtual tours of their exhibits during the closures from the virus. Everyone has a little bit of a different approach, from using Facebook live to Zoom and having a cohost to filming, processing, and posting. Some of the videos are just visitors wandering around and pointing out things they see and the title text on interpretive signs (in pre-closure days). I’ve been mulling over the idea of doing something like that for our Museum, as it brings the collections to our community, but also has the possibility of bringing collections to the world. I’ve virtually toured the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office in Washington DC today and the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA near my home town, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, the National Museum of Funeral History in Texas, and an art museum that had paintings of landscapes with modern additions like bridges and cars (I’m not a specialist in art, as you can tell). They all had different strengths and weaknesses, and everyone highlighted things differently. Some did a continual stream, others picked out specific items, it was all over the board.
A new version of the Duck War in these times is the hashtag #museumsfromhome, which our own Nealis Hall Curator Brittany is using in tagging her ongoing #basketoftheday and Marketing Coordinator Dana is using in #artifactoftheday. you can use these hashtags to see what we’re doing and what other museums are doing throughout the closures.
So, we look forward to seeing you digitally for the time being. If you appreciate the work we’re doing, the easiest thing you can do is like and share it with your friends. You can sign up for our newsletter through our website to get updates on new content, updates on the closure, and more. You can send a few dollars our way through PayPal on our website. You can also become a member- our lowest membership level is $25 for students and seniors, $55 is our household membership, and $100 gets you admission to hundreds of museums across the US (once travel and visiting restrictions are lifted of course). We even have a membership option where you can donate monthly rather than a lump sum, making membership more affordable.
As a museum professional and a person who likes visiting museums anyway, I want to encourage you: if you enjoy the content that any number of museums are offering right now, please send a few bucks their way or become a member! Some museums are extending memberships purchased now or prior to the epidemic to make up for lost time that the museum is closed.
We do what we do for you, and we do what we do because of you. Thank you for your continuing support!
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