home ART Modernizing Museums: Florentine museums adapting to COVID-19 circumstances by implementing virtual tours and experiences

Modernizing Museums: Florentine museums adapting to COVID-19 circumstances by implementing virtual tours and experiences

By Samantha Woodward

In the wake of the pandemic, art institutions and live entertainment across the world have struggled to adapt to a new landscape of social-distancing and lockdowns for months. But with the help of technology and those who value the beauty of storytelling, the once elusive pieces of work are now accessible by the simple click of a button.

Museums have had a bumpy ride since the beginning of the spread of coronavirus at the beginning of the year. They were officially shut down for three months starting in March as the pandemic made its way through Europe, and slowly reopened in May. Social distancing was required as well as masks in order to visit exhibits. However, the Italian Prime Minister signed an emergency decree in November that called for the closure of all museums until early December. 

Although the expiration for this ruling has expired, museums are taking extra precautions to take care of their visitors and attempt to preserve the arts’ mark on humanity during trying times.

Museums are not going down without a fight. 

The Uffizi Galleries has been utilizing their social media platforms, specifically, Facebook, to share content related to their exhibitions and the history behind the art within the museum. 

The museum launched Uffizi on Air, a podcast streamed every Tuesday and Friday at 1 p.m. on Facebook Live that is hosted by museum curators and experts discussing art and history anecdotes of the pieces and artists who created them. Some topics covered this month range from everything from The Feast of the Immaculate Conception to Macchiailo at the Gallery of Modern Art.

In addition to the bi-weekly podcast they produce, the Uffizi also posts videos on their Facebook to show their exhibits, giving commentary of the history while also letting the viewer see the beauty of the sculptures, paintings, and architecture of the beloved museum. They have also accommodated art enthusiasts with hearing disabilities by including videos of presentations using sign language. 

The Vatican also started offering virtual reality tours (360 degrees around) in April and still has a wide selection of exhibits such as Raphael’s Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. 

The videos and experiences offer the viewer a glimpse into the galleries during a time of isolation and lack of tourism. These opportunities of witnessing some of the oldest most famous art in the world may have never been made possible for people across the world, and now thanks to the development of technology and hard work of museums workers, curators and dedicated art enthusiasts, the world of beauty and storytelling are reaching nearly every corner of the world.

With the uncertainty of the pandemic wavering over the world’s head, it is not certain when museums and experiences will open again, but this technological landscape offers a sense of relief during this lame-duck period of waiting until we can step foot back into the galleries safely once again.