One of the articles I chose was “Post-COVID, How Can Museums Remain Essential?”. It was interesting to read about how the pandemic prompted a period of reflection for institutions and individuals as they considered what social value they added according to the notion of “essentiality”. However, I think it is important to consider how this idea can transform and shift through time and how it is also quite subjective. What is ‘essential’ to one individual may not be essential to another. For some, a museum may act as a safe haven, a place for connection or even escape from oneself. For others, a museum may simply exist as a means for passive engagement and time-passing. I wonder how this range of individual needs was addressed during the pandemic. It is also interesting to think about the move towards digital hybridity in museums. This means that new tools and technologies are being used to “move beyond the doors of the museum”, and can also mean that the boundary between a home and an institution is blurred, shifting the perception of a museum from a physical entity to an ideological one. Post-pandemic, it is evident that there is a new appreciation for the ‘taste for the analog’, and ‘slow looking’ after these things have felt scarce during the peak of the pandemic. I wonder how the new wave of hybridity can simultaneously promote analog culture while attending to the move to a more technological-based society post-covid.
The other article that peaked my interest was “Museums facing COVID-19 challenges remain engaged with communities”. What stuck out to me was how the article mentions museums as a place that “can bring us together”, especially in the midst of the pandemic. I find it interesting how this idea of ‘togetherness’ became more emphasized during the pandemic. While the traditional museum does seem to bring many people ‘together’ in a defined space, I question the extent to which they are effectively able to facilitate engaging interactions between different kinds of people. Pre-pandemic, it seemed as though many museums were primarily places for individual exploration, whereas they are currently shifting towards a more community-centered approach. It is also interesting to think about how the idea of engagement has become more prevalent after covid and museums are thinking more about ways in which audiences can become more active participants.