Museums have been closed though not completely inactive during the pandemic.
In many cases, they’ve been sharing sneak-peek content on social media, trying to keep patrons engaged, stoking some interest for the future and finding ways to do what they enjoy most – storytelling.
Friday, nearly two dozen museums and historical society groups from around the greater metro region will join forces for an event on YouTube, “Virtual Museum Day: This is our story KC.” The event will last from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., though viewers can check out the videos later on the event’s YouTube page.
“Some people did 10-minute videos, some did 20,” said Caitlin Eckard, executive director of the Jackson County Historical Society, which owns the 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home Museum. “A couple people are doing live segments on YouTube.”
The Truman Library and Bingham-Waggoner Estate in Independence will also be among the featured sites.
Helen Higgins, a collaborator with the non-profit group LeanLab Education, said that in conversations with museum educators, organizers found how much they missed being able to share stories with the public. Spring especially is a popular time for school field trips. It didn’t take much effort for organizers to get plenty of commitments.
“We took a lead from the many performing-arts groups that were coming together (during the pandemic), “Let’s make it a hub on YouTube – something that’s easy, searchable and engaging.”
“We’re trying to feature programming for schools, but we’re also hoping this is something parents can watch,” Eckard said.
Eckard and Higgins agreed that many in the metro area might not realize the historical culture on display and available to people.
“We’ve got the heavy hitters, like Truman, the World War I Museum and the Nelson-Atkins, but there’s also the Dole Institute of Politics (on the University of Kansas campus) and the Stagecoach site (Olathe, Kansas).”
Participating museums and organizations include:
• Truman Library and Museum.
• Bingham-Waggoner Estate and the city of Independence.
• Jackson County Historical Society (1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home Museum).
• Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College, Kansas.
• Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum, Kansas City northland.
• Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.
• Lecompton Historical Society, Lecompton, Kansas.
• St. Joseph Museums.
• Money Museum, Kansas City.
• The Missouri Valley Room of the Kansas City Public Library.
• Shawnee Town 1929, Shawnee, Kansas.
• Dole Institute of Politics, Lawrence, Kansas.
• Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop, Olathe, Kansas.
• Johnson County Museum, Overland Park, Kansas.
• National World War I Museum and Memorial.
• Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas.
• Kansas City Museum.
• Worrall and Majors house museums, Kansas City.
• Midwest Center for Holocaust, Overland Park.
• American Jazz Museum, Kansas City.
• National Toy and Miniature Museum, Kansas City.