You just don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, as the old saying goes. Never a more apposite phrase has been heard during these unusual times.
So, while the doors of our museums and historic properties are all closed, what is going on behind them?
Well, of course, this will vary from establishment to establishment, but many will still be having to care for objects, maintain the fabric of the building, and even use the time in a more positive way to carry out work that might otherwise be difficult when open.
Add to this a serious dip in revenue streams: no ticket sales, no shop sales, no café income.
We just don’t know, nor can even sensibly predict (at the time of writing this) when the doors will open again. And at that moment in time, will potential visitors still feel slightly nervous about entering, for fear of a hovering virus just waiting for the opportunity to find a human host?
It’s scary stuff, there’s no doubt. And it creates a great deal of uncertainty. Dark days indeed behind those closed doors – shutters down, curtains are drawn – it’s gloomy in there!!!
However, some sites are making positive steps to address this and develop tools to keep the public engaged during the lockdown. The lights are turned on and the windows are open – come and look inside.
How can you seem to be “Virtually Open”? And, by the way, this doesn’t have to mean a 3D virtual reality tour around the galleries – although it could! One of our long-standing clients, The Mary Rose Museum took us up on a suggestion we made to them of creating a Podcast.
We recorded a “conversation” remotely with their Head of Interpretation, using the ubiquitous “zoom” video conferencing app.
It will be accessible from their website, on a “virtual museum” page, that contains other useful and interesting material to look at while the museum is closed. (The page also includes an introductory film, we made for them some years ago, that is still used by their education department for school groups.)
Podcasts and Videos are a great way to keep things virtually open. They can explain what goes on behind the scenes, show-case a selection of thought-provoking objects, introduce staff and experts with interesting stories to tell. And many more reasons that you will be able to think of. And most importantly they can be created under social distancing conditions.
Podcasts particularly work well, as they are relatively low-cost and quicker to create.
It doesn’t have to cost the earth and in these uncertain times, we are making an offer to carry out Podcast creation now and be paid once the doors re-open.
Have a listen to the Mary Rose podcast, and get in touch if you are interested to find out more about how podcasts can help to promote your museum or visitor centre – firstname.lastname@example.org