On behalf of the ICOM UK Executive Committee, I wanted to write to say that our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus and express our intention to support museum colleagues in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales through this challenging time.
COVID-19 is a global pandemic, it knows no national, state or local boundaries. Thus, this is the time for all museums and museum professionals from around the world to work together to meet the challenges presented by the virus and the upheaval it is causing in our daily lives. While our museum spaces may be closed to the public, the stories they tell can and should still be told.
If there is any bright side to this situation, we have unprecedented opportunities to reach audiences who might never walk through our doors. Our colleagues in East Asia have been dealing with closure for a number of weeks now and have continued to share their collections through digital platforms. In fact, on 28 January, China’s National Administration of Cultural Heritage requested that museums share their online exhibitions and content with the public to “encourage the determination and morale of the local people to fight the epidemic…” I know many of you are keen to do the same thing and have already published fantastic online content. For those of you who are looking to make a start, ICOM has published a great introductory article summarising how museums are reaching audiences remotely.
ICOM UK wants to continue to facilitate knowledge sharing on all issues related to COVID-19 – from digital engagement to staff health and wellbeing, to new fundraising models – by connecting you with colleagues around the world. We could, in particular, learn from our colleagues in China, where many museums are set to re-open this week. To that end, our Connected Museum programme will feature articles, videos and other international professional knowledge exchange opportunities that will provide information and, ideally insight and hope, during this period of uncertainty.
If there are particular issues or questions you would like us to address, please do contact us at email@example.com
Take care of yourselves and others.
Chair, ICOM UK