ICOM International Committee for Audiovisual, New Technologies and Social Media

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March 18, 2020

Corona and Museums

The German Museum Munich offers 3-D-Tours of its exhibitions (Source: Deutsches Museum Website)

Corona and Museums: How they communicate  in time of closing and curfew

A comment by Michael H. Faber
Pandemic promotes isolation, but also new opportunities to participate in culture.
Corona also has culture under control. Until further notice, many museums worldwide are closed, exhibition openings, events and educational programs have been canceled. Pandemic promotes isolation, but also new opportunities to participate in culture – online:
More and more museums are reacting. Because no more visitors are allowed into the museum, the museums come to them – online. An interesting, unprecedented development. In times of a pandemic, the web offers opportunities for completely new communication with people interested in culture and a virtual visit to museums and their exhibitions.
“We avoid any kind of infection. But not about beauty, ”says Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence:“ If the public cannot come to art, then we bring art to the public. ” The Uffizi currently have 31,000 followers on Facebook. The #uffizidecameron campaign, named after Giovanni Bocaccio’s “Decamerone” (1348-53), has been running since March 10. In the Decamerone, ten protagonists shield themselves from the plague … In the online campaign, the Uffizi guides you through “favorite rooms” of museum employees or behind the scenes of the company.
Similar initiatives are currently gathering under hashtags such as #digitalmuseum or #DigSmus: In the Vienna Belvedere, for example, the digital audience can currently take a guided tour of a work in the Belvedere at 3 p.m. via a live stream. An online guided tour of the exhibition „Writing the History of Future“ will be offered by the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (Center of Art and Media) Karlsruhe at March 21, 4:30 p.m. via Instagram TV. And the Deutsches Museum (German Museum) in Munich invites to 3-D-tours of its different collection departments. The Städel Museum Frankfurt am Main offers one of the most extensive digital collections from 700 years of art history.
Smaller museums also see their opportunity in the current crisis – digital: The Museion in Bozen, for example, created #telemuseion to communicate with its audience. Museion wants participation: Public contributions are published on social media.
Museums around the world increasingly use the “google arts & culture” forum to keep in touch with the public in times of Corona. And to take them virtually through exhibitions that hopefully will soon be accessible again, physically.
In recent time, Museums have a great opportunity to learn from the Corona disaster. Museums can create a virtual museum world via many online channels, which creates an even closer interaction with the public than ever before. And thus bind the audience.

AVICOM asks all colleagues worldwide for information about current online offers from closed museums (virtual tours and tours, collection presentations, communication strategies with the public). Please send your information, preferably with a license-free image, to:

Response 1:

By Alexandre Khan from Wallmuse: Create your own exhibition online and for broadcast:

Response 2:

By Michael H. Faber:
A portal of German television ZDF also offers virtual tours through exhibitions: At the moment (as of March 24, 2020), the following exhibitions can be viewed from the sofa:
“Beethoven” in the Bundeskunsthalle (Art Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) Bonn
“Inside Rembrandt” in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Cologne
the “Felix Nussbaum” collection in the Museumsquartier Osnabrück
and also an exhibition on “Stolen Art”.
Interesting: All exhibitions are in the same virtual exhibition halls that were created especially for the portal. So the real exhibition areas of the museums cannot be seen.

Response 3:

Online Project “COVID-19 & History”:

An object every day! On its website, the Deutsches Medizinhistorisches Museum (German Museum of Medical History) Ingolstadt tells about how society have dealt with epidemics in the last centuries.

Quarantine doctor. Colored copperplate engraving, 1826

© Deutsches Medizinhistorisches Museum Ingolstadt

None of us have ever seen how much a plague (or the measures taken against it) can change everyday collective life. But this phenomenon has a history. In the past, it wasn’t about Covid-19, but about plague, smallpox, cholera, flu or polio. The question of the origin and nature of the disease was also answered differently at all times – which depended not only on the currently valid medical concept, but also on fears in society and on the power of interpretation of the church. Despite all the differences, some principles and phenomena of the earlier epidemic control still seem familiar to us today.
An object every day! Since the German Museum of Medical History closed, it has been telling an object story every day about how society dealt with the epidemics – under the keyword “Covid-19 & History”. If virtual visitors don’t want to miss a story, they can follow the museum on Facebook or Instagram. The museum also posts all pictures and (significantly shorter) texts here. Now colleagues from other collections and museums are also participating in the gallery. AVICOM agrees with the director of the Museum, Marion Maria Ruisinger: “We think, that’s great !!”