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Museum Social Media Entertains During the COVID-19 Crisis

With the world focused on the COVID-19 crisis, and museums shut as part of the effort to limit the outbreak. Institutions have been adjusting to this new reality and engaging audiences online.

On social media, a handful of museums have stood out this week with authentic and entertaining posts to bring smiles to a worried world.

Take the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma. With the museum closed, they handed their Twitter account over to their Head of Security, Tim.

What could easily be a parody, has racked up thousands of likes and attracted new followers as Tim finds his feet using Twitter to share the museum’s collection.

Tim isn’t the only one sharing his adventures while the doors are closed.

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium took the opportunity to offer one of their penguins a field trip around the empty building.

One clip attracted over 160,000 likes.

Nearby, The Field Museum responded to the Shedd Aquarium with their own film on social media. The museums famous T-Rex had been inspired by the penguins they said:

“Once SUE the T. Rex heard our friends at Shedd Aquarium let their penguins out to explore, we really didn’t have a choice.”


The Field Museum wasn’t the only museum to respond to viral social media content.

At National Museums Scotland, Curator Dr Margarey Maitland mirrored a viral twitter thread which showed the actor Chris Evans alongside hand sanitisers.

Dr Maitland chose to highlight Ancient Egyptian Amulets.

Elsewhere on social media, the Royal Academy in London asked its followers who could ‘draw the best ham?’.

I think whoever runs the RA social media account has been self-isolating for too long, commented one follower.

More than 200 people replied to the post.

With museums closed to the public, we have the opportunity to show the human side of our institutions. In doing so, we can help lift peoples spirits and perhaps when the crisis has passed, a few people who hadn’t walked through our doors might consider doing so.

About the author – Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked with the museum sector on technology and innovation projects for more than twenty years and now splits his time between delivering consultancy, innovation workshops and conferences.

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