Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 August 2020

International Museum Day: More than 80 museums share collections online

The works have been shared on Google Arts & Culture, which has also released a toolkit to help museums digitise their content

Rehan Miskci’s 'Foto Yeraz', presented at the Beirut Art Residency. Google Arts & Culture
Rehan Miskci’s 'Foto Yeraz', presented at the Beirut Art Residency. Google Arts & Culture

It’s International Museum Day, but in current times, a day at the museum doesn’t involve leaving the house. As the coronavirus pandemic has forced cultural institutions to close, many have taken their programmes online.

Held annually on May 18 to highlight the role of museums in society, International Museum Day was inaugurated in 2007 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

This year, Google Arts & Culture has collaborated with ICOM to help art institutions and cultural organisations around the world digitise their content, a task that has become crucial during the pandemic as lockdowns remain in place globally.

They have released the Connected to Culture toolkit, a guide for organisations to continue their cultural programming online through live streams, online talks and digital tours. There are also tips on how to showcase a museum’s archive and collection through social media.

The toolkit also includes information on analytics, website optimisation and essentials for working remotely.

In addition, more than 80 museums from at least 25 countries have shared new collections and stories on Google Arts & Culture, an online platform that contains images and virtual tours of artworks, museums and cultural sites around the world.

These additions are on top of 2,000 existing museums and archives on the platform.

Among the new exhibits are contributions from the American University of Beirut (AUB), which has shared a collection of 165 art posters dating from the early 1960s. The presentation chronicles the development of the art poster in Lebanon, created by galleries to promote their shows and artists.

A poster by Hussein Madi from 1974. Via Google Arts & Culture  
A poster by Hussein Madi from 1974. Google Arts & Culture

Among AUB’s collection are 18 art posters by Hussein Madi that were created between 1974 and 1995. The Lebanese artist fuses elements of modern Western art and abstract Islamic art in his works.

For a more contemporary presentation, the Beirut Art Residency offers a glimpse of the work space used by its artists and collectives who have produced intriguing installations such as Rehan Miskci’s Foto Yeraz, which explores the practice of studio photography in Armenian communities.

The Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation has also added new "stories" (Google’s term for visual essay-style presentations on the platform) on its profile. These include People Mountain People Sea: A Celebration of Everyday Life by Liu Jiakun, which was originally exhibited at the 15th Venice Architecture Triennial.

The installation is an architectural model of West Village, an urban complex in Chengdu, China, which is used for commercial and residential purposes. Visitors can see Liu’s meticulous creation and read about the work, which investigates the erosion of public community spaces in the midst of ever-growing consumerism and commercialisation.

Institutions such as the Parsons School of Design, Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A C from Mexico and Italy’s Casa Buonarroti have also added new content on their profiles.

Google Arts & Culture has also include new Street View tours of heritage sites such as the Meiji Shrine in Japan, where the Meiji Jingu Forest Festival of Art is held.

More information can be found on Google Arts & Culture

Updated: May 18, 2020 10:52 AM

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