As museums around the world remain closed, curators and museum staff are moving into the spotlight to directly engage with visitors online.
Museums have been using social media a lot since they closed. The Getty Museum challenged people to recreate artworks with household items, while the National Cowboy Museum got a security guard to tweet its collection, with entertaining results. Now, several museums are using social media, including #MuseumAtHome, to engage more directly with their visitors, showing off the wealth of knowledge their staff have.
Cocktails with a Curator
The Frick Collection has started a series called ‘Cocktails with a Curator’. In this YouTube series, one of the Frick Collection’s curators discusses a painting in the gallery over a happy hour cocktail. The series will happen every Friday, and the cocktail recipe will be sent out in advance so that everyone at home can join in with the same cocktail.
Set in the curator’s home, it’s an informal insight into famous artwork. As well as being a great source of information for visitors at home, it also shows the extensive knowledge of curators. As an added bonus, visitors get a detailed look at the paintings in the collection without people pushing them, and with a cocktail in hand.
Another way museums are connecting with their visitors is by providing live science demos. Museum science educator Nick Rae from the Riverfront Museum in Peoria, Illinois, is hosting science demos every Thursday on Facebook.
His series ‘Whiz Bang Science LIVE’ tests scientific theories. In one video, Rae explored what happened when a marshmallow is dipped into liquid nitrogen, and then tried eating it (maybe don’t try that at home).
Ever wondered what happens when a marshmallow is dipped into liquid nitrogen? See for yourself as science educator Nick Rae tests this! #VirtualPeoriaRiverfrontMuseum #WhizBangScience #LiquidNitrogen #LN2 #VPRM #MuseumAtHome pic.twitter.com/3QxPzpPXPa
— RiverfrontMuseum (@PeoriaMuseum) April 14, 2020
And the California Academy of Sciences hosted a live Q&A session with Academy Chief of Science and Virologist, Shannon N. Bennett, on YouTube and Facebook.
Tuesday, 10am PST live: #COVID19 questions? Meet us online for Academy Chief of Science & virologist @MicrobeExplorer's 4/14 Breakfast Club talk, "Life & Times of a Parasitologist," followed by viewer Q&A. Livestreaming to YouTube & Facebook: https://t.co/jwAcAfFzox #museumathome pic.twitter.com/KD2nttOj22
— CA AcademyOfSciences (@calacademy) April 12, 2020
And Mitch Luman, The Evansville Museum Director of Science Experiences, made a ‘Quarantine Science Short’ video on Twitter. He spoke about three planets that would be visible from earth and gave some information about them.
🔭 Science short: Mitch Luman, our director of science experiences, tells us about three special planets we can see early tomorrow morning! #science #museum #museumfromhome #museumathome #mars #jupiter #saturn #astronomy pic.twitter.com/5kLnREERQp
— Evansville Museum (@evvmuseum) April 15, 2020
The Grammy Museum at home
The Grammy Museum has a series of exhibits, lessons and archive footage to enjoy at home. In addition staff are sharing playlists and there are some great educational videos too with practical tips for aspiring artists.
Music Professional, Leslie Drayton, provides new artists with a fundamental starting point towards becoming a successful performer.
— GRAMMY Museum (@GRAMMYMuseum) April 14, 2020
Meanwhile, a recent NEMO survey looked at the economic impact of COVID-19 on museums. It shows that some museums have lost between 75-80% of their revenue.