WeChat Takes U.S. Museums to the Cloud

May 5, 2020 | ART, China, ESCAPE, NEWS, TECH, US

People Looking at Art ©crol373

These are uncertain times. The pandemic has forced important institutions like museums to close its doors and transfer to a digital environment to increase engagement. WeChat has teamed up with museums to make this concept come to life. 

The global pandemic has forced many U.S. museums to close, but this unprecedented time has also inspired a new movement for institutions to expand in digital spaces. For many years, involving technological innovation has been widely discussed among the cultural circle, and it’s finally becoming a reality. 

Just a couple of years ago, the term “Museum in the Cloud” would have an entirely different meaning – something that looks straight out of a dystopian film. This concept has come to life, albeit not literally, thanks to WeChat Go.

What to Expect in the Program

The company has teamed up with 11 U.S. museums to launch Mini programs or non-downloadable applications with the app’s ecosystem. This initiative provides cultural institutions with a unique mode to connect with the Chinese audience. The participating museums have incorporated a wide range of cultural resources into the program, including audio-video resources, games, maps, as well as VR tours. All of these are designed to improve people’s ability to connect despite social distancing measures. 

The Chinese audience can engage with the content in Mandarin. This Tencent project hopes to connect Chinese outbound travelers to famous international destinations. Not only will the program entertain them, it will also engage and inform them about relevant matters.

WeChat Museum Collab Moma

Partnership with MTM

The initiative was facilitated by Move the Mind or MTM, which is a consumer-faced all-Mandarin art and pop culture platform. This company is part of the Jing Group, the parent company of Jing Travel. It was also made with the help of China Luxury Advisors, a global consultancy agency, and Tencent’s agency partner. 

The role of MTM in this concept is to bring the museums’ efforts under one cohesive platform. The Mini Program offers an expansive directory of museums and is a one-stop tool for people from China who want to engage with resources and content about cultural destinations. 

Following its launch in 2019, MTM has covered many destinations, shows, topics, and trends from around the world. It has even explored the 1980s underground scene in New York with Maripol, partnered with the National Gallery of Victoria as well as Phillips Auction house, and profiled Cao Fei.

WeChat Museum Collab

“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 MTM Editorial Director Min Chen. 

The program offers a wide array of choices from an aquarium in California, to contemporary art institutions. Aside from boasting a wide array of focus, all partner museums are also diverse when it comes to geography.  

It includes Lowell Observatory, Museum of the City of New York, Peabody Essex Museum, Autry Museum of the American West, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Walt Disney Family Museum, Aquarium of the Pacific, Telfair Museums, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This partnership has also received support from the American Alliance of Museums or AAM. 

“We are very happy to support WeChat’s initiative to help digitalize the museum experience, as it also connects to the American Alliance of Museum’s vision of building ‘A world informed and enriched by thriving museums,'”said Vice President of Development of AAM Arthus Affleck. 

He also added that 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.”

Authentic Cultural Experience Amid the Pandemic

This just proves that even in uncertain times like these where social distancing is imposed, cross-cultural understanding with Chinese museum-goers can still be achieved through practical and entertaining resources. See more information on downloading at WeChat, mini-programs such as WeChat go are installed via the app.