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Museums in streaming with #storieaportechiuse. A journey through digital archives and social media updates

In the times of the Covid-19 emergency, the best of art, science and history at a click of the mouse

The latest from Milan as it fights the Coronavirus: starting yesterday, the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology goes online with #storieaportechiuse, a digital format for exploring the museum developed in partnership with the Fondazione IBSA. Experts and curators will be online every day of the week on the institution’s Facebook and Instagram channels, each with a feature that will illustrate what goes on behind the scenes, the history and the new projects, showing the archives, storage facilities, pieces that have yet to be displayed and exhibition set-ups.

If Mohamed doesn’t come to the mountain, then the mountain will come to Mohamed, and if 60 million Italians stay sheltered in their homes (at least) through April 3rd, then the museums from all over the world will come to them, on their devices.

It seems that the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic – yesterday there were 167,000 confirmed cases, 24,000 of which were in Italy (source World Health Organization) – has momentarily pressed pause in half the Western world. But some of the most famous museums beloved by art lovers everywhere, closed to the public in compliance with the measures to stop the virus from spreading, now offer their collections online.

From Rome to Washington, thousands of works have been made available online and may now be viewed comfortably from your armchair: paintings, statues, installations and archaeological artefacts may be seen with a click of the mouse, in an “open air” gallery that ranges from the Masp in Sao Paulo to the Louvre in Paris.

United under the hashtag #iorestoacasa – (I am staying home) – trending on the social networks and the major media channels – the country is getting ready to move into its second week of preventive quarantine.

There are still 19 days left to stay at home, and lots of ideas are coming in through the Internet suggesting how to spend the free time at our disposal.

The initiatives of digital solidarity from the entertainment world and private citizens in every field of endeavour – directors of small theatres who share their acting lessons on Facebook, bookshop owners who deliver, bloggers who launch solidarity campaigns on Instagram – are now joined by the proposals from art galleries from every corner of the globe.

Many museums, in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture – a photo collection of artworks and a digital archive of monuments and sites of historical interest – had already developed virtual tours of their exhibition spaces. And from Silicon Valley, comes a top ten of the most complete immersive tours: topping the rankings are London with the British Museum, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Italy is eighth with the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence which in addition to the experience it offers on the Google platform, shares the images of the collections on display on its own website.

There is also a virtual tour of the Egyptian Museum in Turin with the exhibition titled Invisible Archaeology – focusing on the methods of archaeological investigation made possible by new technologies – which has been extended through June 7th. From home, one can also admire the paintings of the Pinacoteca di Brera (Milan) and the online catalogue of the Vatican Museums. The range of European institutions that have made their treasures available online includes the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Athens, the Prado Museum in Madrid and the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. For anyone wishing ideally to take a longer journey overseas, we might suggest a visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Across Italy museums have activated their social media, posting photos and videos of their exhibition spaces .

every day.

Through April 5th, the Mambo in Bologna will post videos on its official Youtube channel asting 15 minutes and made with a smartphone or other rigorously non-professional means (the initiative is part of a wider project concerning new forms of digital engagement). Palazzo Strozzi transforms its blog and launches In contatto: a platform of texts, images, videos, stories and explanations available to everyone, the aim of which is to foster a debate and stimulate reflection at a distance.


translation by Olga Barmine

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