I am an avid museum visitor, Swiss MuseumPass
ambassador and one of TheLausanners
. I therefore reached out to MuseumPass and Lausanne Tourisme and together we managed to reach many museums that were generous enough to allow me to take some photos and to speak with their employees over the last few weeks. In total, I was able to enter 13 different museums throughout Switzerland and to create this photo gallery.
My experience was very different from place to place: some had a feeling of emptiness, some had a very peaceful feel, and some gave me the impression of stepping into a different era. Whether it be with blinds closed, only daylight or the lighting usually used for cleaning, it made me realize how a museum is also a scene, a show that can only live under one’s eyes… and I could feel the hope and anticipation of the museums to welcome visitors again.
During my visits, I noticed that many museums are located in a landscaped environment which was still being used. Even when they were physically closed, they still provided something positive to the population. Which was also true for my family who accompanied me on my road trips to the different museums, as it was the kids' school holiday week. They were able to enjoy the sun, the scenery and relax in the museum gardens while I took my photos.
The lockdown created many challenges for the museums. The management of temporary exhibitions in particular was incredibly difficult, be it to keep lended works for longer periods of time, to manage the corresponding insurances or to reschedule and reorganize the upcoming events.
However, the situation pushed everyone to imagine new virtual projects and create online experiences such as virtual exhibitions, virtual tours, or even Zoom conferences. Some offered digital experiences and films to convey information about the life and work of great artists. Some created special events to highlight and use their outdoor spaces. Others took this downtime to do a major cleaning and carry out maintenance measures, while others transformed their exhibitions into workshops presented to classrooms.
All in all, imagination and innovation was the key point to keep the relationship with the visitors alive. And all museums agree on one point : they are eager to re-open and reconnect with the public.