#MuseumWeek brings digital exposure to culture around the globe | Arts | DW | 29.03.2016

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#MuseumWeek brings digital exposure to culture around the globe

You don't need to leave the house to immerse yourself in culture. The Twitter project #MuseumWeek has hundreds of cultural and arts institutions around the world tweeting about their treasures.

Billed as a "world cultural event," the annual one-week campaign is in its third year and growing steadily.

While in its first year in 2014, only 630 museums had signed up for the digital event, 2015 saw numbers more than triple with 2,207 museums participating globally. This year's numbers are yet to be verified, as institutions are still jumping on board, but the social media event is likely to continue gaining popularity.

Galleries and museums from around the world are sharing parts of their collections as well as little-known facts and anecdotes online in a bid to appeal, above all, to a younger audience.

Using the hashtag #MuseumWeek, people are invited to enter into dialogue and share their own impressions and views, even when they're thousands of miles away from participating institutions, and ask questions to learn more about art, culture or a particular field of study.

The biggest names in culture

The majority of participating museums and galleries appear to be from Europe and North America, with big names like the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum tweeting from the UK or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) taking part from New York.

Chief Digital Officer at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art Sree Sreenivasan says that #MuseumWeek is not only a digital marketing campaign, but also a means to enhance visitors' experience - or to "bring something alive to folks who may not be able to get to the museum."

"#MuseumWeek (…) succeeds because it's a combination of our official tweets and posts by visitors (both in-person and virtual), employees, other museums commenting on our art and more. It's great to see how much ownership others feel about the Met!" he says on the #MuseumWeek website.

Other big names taking part include the Louvre in Paris or the Museo del Prado in Madrid. However, the event also provides a perfect showcase for lesser-known galleries to gain traction around the globe.

Showcase for smaller institutions

The Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), for instance, the only participating museum in South Africa, got heavily involved on the first day of the campaign, which featured a particular theme: secrets.

Istanbul's Women's Museum (Istanbul Kadin Muzesi) put a greater emphasis on the theme of the second day of the event, which was based on "people," publishing a banner on Twitter with some of the people behind its conception.

"Here are some of the people, whose efforts have created the Istanbul Women's Museum," the institution tweeted in Turkish.

Australia's Migration Museum used the second day's theme as an opportunity to highlight the stories of those who made arduous journeys to the continent to start a new life.

A celebration of art and culture

Other themes to feature in coming days include heritage, love and future, bringing abstract ideas to a generation that often rather spends hours in front of their smartphone screens instead of visiting galleries.

But #MuseumWeek does not intend to change the habits of millennials and turn them into culture vultures. Instead, it aims to bring heritage into the new century in a "celebration of art and culture."

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