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Museum International ; 73(3-4):146-155, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1774182


Several indicators suggest that the Covid-19 pandemic has raised public awareness around climate and environmental emergencies, and expanded global consciousness around the interdependencies of natural systems and their individual components. These trends add up to a growing awareness of both environmental damage and social injustices, brought to wide global attention by the 2019 Climate Strikes and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests of 2020. How can museums take advantage of this new social and activist climate, as we resurface form the severe limitations imposed by pandemic-related health and safety measures? The concept of the Anthropocene stands out as the most powerful, all-inclusive topic that museums can leverage to reshape their relationship with a new form of citizenship during and following the Covid-19 crisis. In this article, and drawing on my work and experiences at the MUSE – Science Museum in Italy, I will offer some discussion around the urgent need, for the entire museum community, to review museum polices and activities in light of the Anthropocene paradigm, a process that museums must undertake thorough a complex process of internal strategic change. One key issue with pervasive consequences over several museum activities is the need to shift our storytelling from the humanity-against-nature narrative (a 20th-century environmentalist view) to a humanities-against-(other)-humanities narrative, which more properly describes the current Anthropocene-era conflict between different values and ethical principles with regard to the ontological status of our planet. Moreover and above all, museums need to become increasingly aware of their political role in society, and be prepared to assert it more than is customary in our practices. If the commitment to the United Nations 2030 Agenda honours the institutional task of museums, the proposal for critical debate on Anthropocene issues stands out as the main challenge for museums who wish to fulfil their social and political roles in a post-Covid-19 world.

Museum International ; 73(3-4):32-43, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1774173


During the Covid-19 lockdown from the end of January to March 2020, museums in China were forced to temporarily close, consequently devoting more attention to online activities. Apart from official websites, many museums increased their online activities on China-based video livestreaming platforms such as Kuaishou, Douyin and Bilibili, etc., as well as on the audio livestreaming platform Himalayan. Other online activities were carried out via social media and e-commerce platforms including WeChat, Vlog, Taobao, Tianmao, Jingdong, Meituan and Tencent. Shaanxi History Museum (SHM) represents one of the typical examples of cultural institutions that bolstered their online activities during the pandemic. This article explores the effects of Chinese museums’ livestreaming activities, which constituted the core of their online initiatives during the pandemic. By reviewing different types of livestreaming activities carried out by museums, as well as conducting online surveys, face-to-face interviews and analysing data surrounding the Shaanxi History Museum, it will critically discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Chinese museums’ livestreaming activities, with potential implications for museums in China and worldwide. Ultimately, it suggests that Chinese museums’ development of online activities relies on applying a systematic, diversified and digitalisation-driven communication strategy.