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Reorganise, Reuse, Rethink and Relaunch – Lessons from Philbrook

Philbrook Museum & Gardens in Tulsa, Oklahoma yesterday relaunched their website in response to their temporary closure for the COVID-19 crisis and to offer their community online resources to keep them entertained while staying at home.

“We strive every day to make a creative and connected community through art and gardens. But it’s time for us all to spend some time practicing social distancing and experiencing the #MuseumFromHome.” stated Philbrook.

Philbrook Museum Website

The museum have quickly turned around the new website, recycling content like their popular Museum Confidential Podcast and Online Galleries, as well as introducing new resources.

Downloadable colouring sheets provide a simple activity to “help occupy the time while we #FlattenTheCurve” while a livestream will be broadcast every day at 10am and 1pm.

The museum also looks to generate revenue while closed with a call for donations and a curbside shop.

Philbrook Director, Scott Stulen said that the museum had created an internal taskforce to look at how they responded to COVID-19.

They were asked to, “Find things that are quick, things that are cheap and things that can help our community and things that we can do to keep the museum on people’s minds when we’re going to be closed”.

The museum has a long list of things that they wish to do Stulen says, with livestreaming concerts, swapping instagram accounts with other museums and filming the museums cats exploring the museum (inspired by the Shedd Aquarium pengiuns).

With the new website to Philbrook hint at what museums around the world should be considering. 

Reorganise –  Your regular museum website will be focused on people walking through the doors. This isn’t going to be needed for several months, so take the opportunity to reorganise your website to better support your audiences new needs. 

Reuse – Museums all have resources that can be recycled and put online. This could be films created for YouTube, a Podcast, Educational resources or colouring sheets. Look at what assets you have and recycle.

Rethink – Philbrook are live-streaming from the museum every day. This won’t be possible in cities where none essential travel is banned, but other options exist. Rijksmuseum have been sharing films of curators talking about art from their homes.

Philbrook Museum Livestream

Relaunch – Relaunch your website and shout about the fact that you’re adapting to the COVID-19 crisis and looking for new ways to support your community at a difficult time.

Stulen says that rethinking their website to respond to the crisis is an important step to support their community, and he hopes that when the crisis ends, they’ll remember the museums actions.

Will other museums respond to the COVID-19 crisis by relaunching their websites? If your museum is doing this, let us know on social media.

*Comments from Scott Stulen taken from the webinar How to Keep Your Audience Engaged in the Age of Coronavirus which was filmed by Cuseum earlier this week. Watch this here.

About the author – Jim Richardson

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

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