Stay Connected: Museum from Home

Screenshot of one of the Instagram posts I created for the UAG.


Stay Connected: Museum from Home

Museum Studies Intern at the University Art Gallery (UAG) – Fall 2020

Covid-19 hits the world unexpectedly, spreading across the globe and affecting people’s lives in every way. Museums and art galleries, being the places where people would usually go to and get themselves immersed with arts, were faced with an immediate challenge to respond and adapt to “the new normal.” At the start of the semester, I was anxious about securing an internship during this tough time, and my location in China added complexity as well as difficultly to the situation. Luckily, I was able to obtain an internship at the UAG, working under the guidance of director Sylvia Rhor. During my internship, I mainly worked on developing programs that connect and engage people with the UAG via social media. I will also be working on carrying out interactive Instagram projects for our current exhibition and redeveloping the UAG website.

In preparation for developing online programs, I first researched how other academic museums respond to the pandemic, primarily through looking at their websites and social media accounts. My research indicated that many academic museums are making efforts to stay connected and continue to share art with the world. Some of them devised virtual tours where visitors could get a sense of the physical exhibition space, while others created various programs on social media such as Instagram.  After listing several potential projects that the UAG could do projects, Sylvia and I agreed that we should create a series of posts drawing from the UAG’S permeant collections to share on Instagram. In this way, despite the gallery remained closed to the public, people from all over the country can explore and get informed about the UAG collection.

With a general theme in mind, I then browse through our permanent collection to undertake the project. The screenshot above shows the first Instagram post I created for the UAG. I decided to share this particular etching of the Cathedral of Learning because I knew many others could not be in Pittsburgh due to the pandemic. I hope that people can find comfort by looking at a piece of artwork of this familiar Pittsburgh landmark. And I want to remind people that although we are somewhat isolated at the moment, we can still stay connected from home and continue to enjoy art through social media platforms.

The rampant pandemic had us rethink the future of museums. Whether through creating virtual tours or social media programs, academic museums strived to adapt to the new normal to continue sharing cultural objects with the public. As we progress, I believe we can do better in connecting and sharing our beautiful collections with more and more people regardless of their geographic locations.