The on-going global pandemic of coronavirus has put museums around the world to a complex and severe test. The functions of museums such as exhibition display, social education and audience services are in urgent need to "remodeling". The forced closures of global museums have caused many of them to rethink how to avoid "losing their voices" and enhanced the connection of museums. In this particular difficult time, the National Museum of China, together with 15 global partners, organized the "Treasure Hunt Relay: Global Museum Director's Choice" project, with the theme of "Hand in hand: Museum and Me". The relay project widely presented the achievements of civilization, held in-depth exchanges over experiences in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, conveyed the confidence and determination to overcome difficulties together with the museum audiences and aimed to contribute to the construction of a community with a shared future in cyberspace.
Hand in Hand: Museum and Me
The 16 national museums from fifteen countries that crossed five continents participated in the relay project, generating profound cultural influences all over the world. The relay project lasted for 9 days, from September 6, 2020 to September 14, showed more than 80 treasures around the world. In the videos of "Director's Choice", the Director of each museum served as "museum docent" to introduce the treasures which they personally selected, and use live-broadcasting video connections to convey the meaning of "relay" and the spirit of fighting the epidemic together, and bringing the global audiences the power of culture without leaving their homes. At the same time, the director of the National Museum of China has successively held online video talks with directors of participating museums to deepen exchanges and mutual learning during the pandemic. The relay project demonstrated the power of cultural connections and exchanges between countries, and embodies the important value of "Internet + Museum" to the world.
Cyber Empowers International Communication
The relay project used the combination of mainstream media and new media to carry out three-dimensional publicity, aimed to tell exciting stories about China, to spread the voices of China, and to show a real and comprehensive image of China. Mainstream media such as Xinhuanet, People's Daily Online and other mainstream media focused on the themes and highlights of the project. The total number of media reports amounted to 1,342 pieces, which was nearly ten times higher than the number of domestic reports on related types of activities. The total number of readings on related Weibo topics exceeded 190 million. The 16 videos of "Director's Choice" attracted around 200 million Chinese and foreign viewers to "chasing drama" online. Participating overseas museums actively contributed to international publicity and promotion of the relay project through their official websites and social media. During the event, the National Museum of China received thank-you letters from all participating museums. Many directors expressed that they were proud to be a participant of the relay project. The National Museum of China demonstrated great leadership in the international museum community and boosted confidence in the fight against the epidemic and build consensus in the world.
China efficiency and China technology are highly praised
As a grand and heart-warming gesture, this relay project demonstrated the solidarity of the international museum community to help each other and overcome difficulties during the epidemic prevention and control period, and reflected the organizational abilities of the National Museum of China in planning cross-cultural exchange project and the advanced capabilities of network communication technology support from China Central Radio and Television Station. The National Museum of China proposed the concept of the relay project in mid-May 2020, and began to send out invitations to more than 50 overseas museums and cultural institutions in late June. In early July, through in-depth careful evaluation, the National Museum of China derived a specific implementation plan and narrowed down the participants list. It only took 2 weeks to finish 15 online video talks between participating directors, and held 8 director online meetings in different time zones around the world within 1 week; approximately 470,000 words in Chinese were translated into multiple languages within 10 days, with a total duration of 887 minutes of bilingual video subtitles, the National Museum of China overcame various difficulties such as tight timeframe and pandemic environment and successfully completed the project. The project was applauded by museum colleagues at home and aboard. It also took advantage of the cultural and technological integration. The National Museum of China cooperated with China Central Radio and Television Station to adopt a combination of "5G live broadcasting + 8K shooting/production/large-screen presentation + AR animation special effect" to "rediscover" classical works of art and antiques, created a vivid and immersive viewing experience.
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