ICOM MPR, ICOM AVICOM and ICOM Germany have successfully raised funding for project support by means of the ICOM Solidarity Fund

Two international committees of museums specialized in media presence and strategic communication, together with ICOM Germany, can now realize their comprehensive project for the covid19 crisis by means of the ICOM Solidarity Fund:

“The COVID19 Challenge:
Museums and their digital engagement in times of crises”

The aim of this collective endeavour is, on the one hand to work out, in dialogue with leading representatives of museums worldwide, the status quo of digital presence – even better of integrated hybrid presence – in an exemplary way (ICOM MPR).


On the other hand, with the help of best practice examples, to develop useful recommendations for action – especially for small and medium-sized museums (ICOM AVICOM).

The national committee ICOM Germany is supporting this project with its large network of museum specialists.

It is beyond doubt that the entire pandemic situation is challenging, also for museums and in the aftermath of the crisis. Ultimately it will not be until the middle term that we shall see how the once mega-trend of city tourism develops, on which the majority of museums depended to varying degrees. At the same time, it has become obvious that an elaborate digital presence in the future orientation of strategic communication is an absolute necessity.

It will be interesting to see which houses are already working on the basis of a truly integrated hybrid strategy, and what experience in the light of the development of a digital sceneography has been gained so far. It must be our aim to consolidate these important developments.

The results of this study will be made generally accessible via the websites of the three participating committees.

Matthias Henkel (MPR) & Michael H. Faber (AVICOM)

The COVID19 Challenge: Museums and their digital engagement in times of crises

Mission Statement

Why do ICOM MPR, ICOM AVICOM and ICOM Germany need to work together?

The phenomenon of the pandemic will stay with us in the medium to long term. In order to be able to work in a future-oriented manner, museum work is therefore not a matter of pure digitization, but of developing an authentically designed hybrid museum world.

In this scenario, the factor of communication will be of growing importance.  This applies both internally and externally: New visitor groups must be reached in new ways; also with new formats. Holistic, hybrid strategies must be developed for this purpose. For this reason, it is necessary to develop a multi-perspective analysis of the status quo.

Based on this, we will present recommendations for the design of communication strategies for a hybrid museum world. Against this background, the cooperation between ICOM AVICOM, ICOM MPR – the expert committees for communication issues – in conjunction with the national committee with the largest membership within ICOM is the most suitable basis.

The goal of the project

The COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation are having a major impact on the museum sector. The digital and medial presence of museums received an unexpected boost. It’s clear that the mere digitization of analogue data or the digitization of the collections was not enough. The museums were faced with the challenge of developing formats and concepts that could be played out digitally. It became clear that the design of digital formats requires the same care as is required for analogue concepts.

After all, it is not about simply mapping the analogue institution in the digital and thus possibly making it superfluous. It is about a concept in which curating, conveying and communicating are developed collaboratively.  It is, in fact, about the development of an authentic digital scenography.

This study is not intended to develop theoretical concepts, but rather to provide an overview, in dialogue with the responsible colleagues worldwide, of the ways in which the museums have reacted individually to this situation – and what experiences they have had in the process. It is about compiling best-practice examples so that everyone can benefit from them.

It is extremely exciting to see the speed, media, dramaturgy and content with which museums responded to this challenge. The intended study enables a unique time segment analysis on two different levels:

For developing digital products AVICOM will offer its knowledge and will assist the international museum community.

First step: to create a qualitative collection of best practice examples that can serve as role models, especially for small and medium-sized museums.

Second step: The museums are currently deprived of this unique selling point. What strategies are being developed now to transform the analogue content into digital content?

  • Which new formats are being developed to ensure the visibility of art and culture in public (digital) space in the short term?
  • Which new communication channels (media) and strategies are used to continue reaching existing target groups and, if possible, to use the situation at the same time to address new target groups?
  • What visual language do museums use to target time as a resource on the side of their audience? Are elements of gamification or interaction used to address visitors?
  • In addition to these content-related, conceptual, and aesthetic questions, it is crucial that every message that a museum sends out is also linked its brand personality.

Third step – expert interviews: About 20 structured video interviews will be conducted with selected executives – worldwide – to document the experience for the broader professional public.