About this good practice
During the lockdown against COVID-19, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki (AMTh) cultivated its relationship with Museum visitors with 3 online initiatives, offering people who had to "stay at home" the opportunity of a creative re-approaching of its antiquities & the chance to learn from & interact with some of its most representative artefacts.‘Everything changes in time & all remain the same’:aiming to provide people with the opportunity to open a direct “dialogue” with AMTh & its archaeological objects, in relation both to the past & present, chosen ancient artefacts were uploaded to its social media.Online visitors had to look at their homes for objects that looked like ancient ones, photograph & upload/e-mail to AMTh’s SM. Photos were presented in a digital/online exhibition that contrasts ancient artefacts with look-alike modern-day objects, thus antiquity to modern everyday life.‘Poetry in the shape of things’:inspired by a type of visual poems known as calligrams, whose text is arranged in such a way that it forms a thematically related image of an object that is referred to it. People used poems, songs & other texts to express their cultural difference choosing contemporary Greek poetry.‘Let’s stay at home & make a paper ‘Plangon’ toy doll’:inspired by toy doll Plangon that had movable arms & legs & was made of clay in ancient Greece, addressed the younger audience.AMTh showcases “Plangon” toy dolls that are among the most favourite exhibits of young visitors.
On Museum’s funds, all initiatives were organized online/virtual by the Museum’s human resources team, and mainly with ‘home’ technical equipment & support due to nationwide lockdown measures. Actions were on a non-profit basis, free of charge to the public, and needed good planning & coordination.
Evidence of success
Digital actions (I paint antiquity, The museum has (your) history!, We make a paper wreath from oak leaves, I make my own mask and disguise myself, I make a dough figurine, Seascape paintings, I make a mosaic with fruits) had great success (115% increase of participation), enabling individuals 5-80 years old, educational level or country of origin, to visit AMTh. Representative examples are included in "Strategy 21-Good Practices" (European Heritage Strategy for the 21st Century).
Potential for learning or transfer
AMTh’s initiatives achieved results mainly in the social sector as well as in the fields of knowledge & education.Participants in online actions had the chance to learn about aspects of Greek ancient daily life in an amusing & creative way while “staying at home”.The Museum managed to have hundreds of ‘visitors’ daily while its doors remained hermetically closed.Key success factors include:1)Working in the public interest; one main motivation was to keep alive citizens' interest in the Museum & to encourage their participation in an interesting & creative activity during their stay at home.2)Building relationships;AMTh made hundreds of new friends of different ages & places of origin.3)Flexibility;managing to adapt quickly & effectively to new conditions imposed by the pandemic, opening new ‘windows’ of communication in a ‘closed’ Museum, seeking different ‘communication networks’ with public, offering visitors a different museum experience that doesn’t require their physical presence.