IMD Think Piece by Arta Agani, Director, National Gallery of Kosovo

For museums worldwide, the pandemic crisis has shed a light on new directions to consider.  Despite the fact that several years before the pandemic, digitalization brought humankind to a place where nobody wanted to go, a place of isolation and introverted youth, with diminishing human interaction, we can now regard it as a preparation period.  Digitalization and social media, of course, has now become an abnormal blessing in abnormal times.

It is a sort of a blessing for museums and us cultural workers, allowing us to discover new ways to reach out to our audiences and to become creative in ways previously unthinkable.  Methods that might have appeared too banal have now become an inevitable and optimal way of connecting to our audiences and approaching artists to make contributions to our ever-evolving culture, all via social media channels.

At the National Gallery of Kosovo, our virtual doors opened up for artists.  Works from our collection that sit in the dark, because we don’t have sufficient space for a permanent exhibition, are posted online for our audiences.  To our surprise, this enhanced online activity attracted the attention of a society in isolation – hence expanding our online audience. 

This way we have learned to be more open to the public and to communicate in ways other than within the museum walls; to be more open in a closed-down society.  Always hoping that our online audience will become a physical one in the future, we have learned to adapt to the idea that maybe virtuality is our future, or, at least, a considerable part of museum work!