How Museums & Attractions Are Reacting to COVID-19 (March 24 Roundup)

March 24, 2020 Julia Manoukian

The past few weeks for travel and tourism marketers haven’t been easy. Many are wondering, where do we go from here?

As active members in the community, we’ve been putting our heads together to determine how we can best support our customers and the community at large. We’re doing everything we can, and part of that, we believe, is learning from one another.

The following examples have come from our community, customers, and friends in the museum and attractions space. 

We hope you find them useful.

Giving your visitors the most up-to-date and useful information about your facility or organization

These organizations have focused on keeping their visitors informed by sharing the most up-to-date information with them on their websites. 

Dollywood

Dollywood created a dedicated landing page on its site that provides valuable information to future visitors. They’ve included a FAQ section with updates for season pass holders and group bookings. This is a good format to share helpful material that’s easy to find.

Arkansas State Parks

The team at Arkansas State Parks also published a landing page detailing how they are responding. It includes information on what’s open and what’s not, as well as what the team is doing to control COVID-19.

Sharing content that your community can enjoy virtually

The following organizations have found creative ways to bring people joy and entertainment from the safety of their homes.

Shedd Aquarium (Chicago)

If you haven’t already seen the viral videos, Shedd Aquarium released a clip showing its penguins wandering around when no one was there. They have a stream of posts showing the penguins’ adventures, and the first one was shared over 50K times. 

The Field Museum (Chicago)

The folks over at the Field Museum decided to follow suit. “Once SUE the T. rex heard our friends at @shedd_aquarium let their penguins out to explore, we didn’t really have a choice,” they write in an Instagram post. Collectively, the posts of SUE wandering around the museum garnered over 72K views. 

The National Cowboy Museum (Oklahoma City)

Since The National Cowboy Museum has closed temporarily, their head of security, Tim, who is an actual cowboy, has taken over their Twitter account. 

“From writing out the word ‘hashtag’ in his tweets to always saying ‘thanks’ in his posts, his fanbase is growing,” reports ABC news.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada (Toronto)

The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to thousands of fish and sea creatures, including barracudas, rays, jellyfish, octopi, moray eels and giant sharks. The team set up a Live Shark Cam so people can still watch the action. 

On their site, they also have a ton of other resources like downloadable educational materials and arts and crafts for all ages.

Canada’s Wonderland

Canada's Wonderland uploaded a bunch of videos to its YouTube channel showing its rollercoasters from a POV perspective. Some are even offered in 360. 

The Palace Museum and the Suzhou Museum

Museums like the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing have made their galleries virtual. Many are also offering virtual tours available online.

The Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House created several online experiences ranging from an educational YouTube Channel, a VR app, 360 tours, to a Google Arts & Culture exhibition available in 20 languages. 

Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix)

The Desert Botanical Gardens uses prompts on social media such as “Tell us your favorite fact about saguaros?” to keep its community educated and engaged. In the comments, you can see that they’ve received a ton of responses.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tell us your favorite fact about saguaros? 🌵

A post shared by Desert Botanical Garden (@dbgphx) on

Oregon Zoo

The Oregon zoo tweeted last week to let their followers know they were closed, but that the animals were doing great and they will “keep the videos coming.” Since then, their feed has been filled with videos of other cute animals like beavers, otters, and puppies. 

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

On their Instagram, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is focusing on at-home experiments parents can do to keep their kids entertained, like this easy color changing milk experiment:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Exploding Baggies🧪Experiment! Try this at home (outside) with the whole family. You Need: •Vinegar •Baking soda •Sandwich Baggie •Clothespin or chip clip •Measuring cup & spoon •Food coloring Directions: 1. Add ¾ cup of vinegar into a sandwich bag. You can pre-color your vinegar, or add it to the bag. 2. Pinch the bag just above the vinegar, & hold it closed with a clothespin or chip clip. 3. Add 3 tbsp of baking soda to the top of the bag and seal it tight. 4. Place the baggie on the ground, & release the clip. You might have to shake the bag slightly. 5. Stand back and watch! #RealScience #TCMatHome #MuseumAtHome

A post shared by Children's Museum Indianapolis (@childrensmuseum) on

Exploratorium (San Francisco)

The Exploratorium has also put together a “learning from home” toolkit, as well as an Instagram Stories Series. The lessons tackle timely topics like “What Does Soap Do to Viruses?” and “How Do We Fight Viruses?”

Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford, England)

The folks over at the Pitt Rivers Museum have taken their entire collection online, and are also offering other fun activities like coloring pages for kids. 

The Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)

The Rijksmuseum is currently running a photo challenge where they encourage Instagram users to recreate famous works of art at home. They’ve also been taking their followers on virtual tours of their galleries.  

The Perot Museum (Dallas)

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science started a YouTube series called “Amaze your brain at home.” The videos contain short facts on biology, space, and paleontology.

“Dream Now, Visit Later”

“Dream Now, Visit Later,” is a term originally coined by Visit Norway that embodies an angle many travel and tourism brands are taking right now. For those who are using this time to prepare for the eventual recovery, it’s about staying top of mind and keeping the dream alive, rather than details of what that trip would look like. 

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens has updated their Facebook page banner to an image encouraging people to purchase memberships for future openings. They’ve also kicked off a daily "Home Safari" Facebook Live series, which has contests and giveaways for tickets once the zoo reopens.

Fostering creative connection

As industry strategist Colleen Dilenschneider writes, “There is a terrific opportunity for creative connection right now that proves relevance far beyond your walls.”

The museums and attractions outlined above have driven this home. More than just providing educational, informative and often lighthearted content, they’ve helped bring communities together online. 

We know this has been a difficult time. More than ever, we need the support and learnings from our community. 

The CrowdRiff team remains committed in doing everything we can to help.

If you’re interested in continuing the conversation, join us next week for CrowdRiff’s Online Community Meetup, where we’ll be discussing many of the topics above (and more) with industry leaders.

About the author

Julia Manoukian

Julia Manoukian is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at CrowdRiff. A former journalist, she has helped several Toronto startups raise their thought leadership profiles and scale their content efforts to influence revenue. She's passionate about storytelling, traveling, and tech.

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