Coronavirus may have forced U.S. museums to physically close, but it’s also catalysing an unprecedented expansion into digital spaces. For years, embracing technological innovation has fostered vibrant discussion among cultural circles, but now, it’s a vital means of connecting with audiences domestically and internationally. When it comes to Chinese audiences, innovation means engaging in Mandarin and on their platform of choice; WeChat. “Museum in the Cloud” does exactly that.
Enter WeChat Go, a Tencent project aimed at connecting international destinations with Chinese outbound travelers. It has collaborated with 11 major U.S. museums along with Move The Mind (MTM) to create separate WeChat Mini Programs, non-downloadable applications within WeChat’s ecosystem, that further the ability of institutions to engage, inform, and entertain Chinese audiences. The Mini Programs offer users a range of features such as guided audio tours and video materials, interactive games, and maps.
The initiative has been facilitated by Move The Mind (MTM), a consumer-facing, all-Mandarin arts and pop culture platform and a member of the Jing Group, Jing Travel’s parent company, and China Luxury Advisors, a global consultancy and Tencent’s premium agency partner.
MTM’s role in “Museum in the Cloud” is to bring all the museum efforts under a single platform. Its Mini Program offers an expansive directory of international museums and stands as a one-stop tool for urban experience-seeking readers in Mainland China looking to engage with content and resources about global cultural destinations. Since launching in 2019, MTM has covered an array of shows, destinations, trends, and topics from around the world. MTM has explored New York’s 1980s underground scene with Maripol, profiled Cao Fei, and partnered with institutions such as National Gallery of Victoria and Phillips Auction House.
“MTM is excited to be a part of WeChat Go’s “Museum in the Cloud” initiative to keep audiences connected to the museums they love and miss. We hope these in-app experiences will encourage readers to remain engaged with global arts and pop culture, while closing the virtual gap during this period of social distancing,” said Min Chen, MTM’s Editorial Director.
From New York institutions focused on contemporary art to an aquarium in California, the partner museums are diverse in both geography and focus. They include the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Autry Museum of the American West, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Walt Disney Family Museum, the Telfair Museums, Aquarium of the Pacific, and Lowell Observatory.
The partnership has received strong support from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and demonstrates, even during a time of restricted travel and social distancing, the deep-rooted will to facilitate cross-cultural understanding with potential Chinese museum-goers through resources, both practical and entertaining.
“The museum Mini Programs will enable Chinese audiences to tour American museums remotely from across the ocean, and help in bringing the world closer together under this special timing,” said Arthur Affleck, the Vice President of Development of AAM.
Stay tuned for Jing Travel’s upcoming deep-dive into a selection of these museum WeChat Mini Programs and their functionalities. Please feel free to submit info, press releases, and new initiatives your institution is taking to firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about “Museums to the Clouds” and how your institution can connect with Chinese millennial, contact email@example.com