#MuseumAtHome: Museum staff in spotlight as they engage visitors online

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.

Live demos

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).

Science Q&A

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.

Science Experiences

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.

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.

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.