LOUVRE ABU DHABI
''Uncertain future, crisis: How to reopen a new, mindful museum?''
By Emma Cantwell, Director of Marketing and communications and Benji Wiedemann Creative Director
Today, more than ever we see great uncertainty in the future. Changes in the climate, racial tensions, increased terror threats and now, COVID-19. COVID-19 has devastated the world and paralysed life as we know it. With infection numbers dropping we can start easing back into normality. But the path is long with many adjustments to be made. We are creating a new kind of museum that keeps visitors and the museum safe. A museum that is prepared for any eventuality and focuses on positivity and hope, to leverage culture to heal and bring people back together in a safe environment. We coined this the 'mindful museum'. A Mindful Museum shifts: Fear to Hope Against to For Problems to Solutions Threats to Opportunities (Positivity) The Impersonal to Personal And finally, doesn’t talk about COVID-19! This notion will inform organisational culture as much as curated content, cultural programming, symposiums and outreach initiatives. But the task to launch our new, mindful museum was immense: - We were fast tracking our digital presence programmes (In some cases delivering 12 month projects in several months to try to catch up with the massive demand for online content and to keep our communities engaged). Our teams were balancing this major shift with the reopening project - We had a whole organisation to 'on board' with this premise - after all, how mindful can you be if the approach is not collective? - We had a completely 'new' museum to reopen - no guided tours, no Children's Museum, pre-booking required (ticketed time slots) with lengthy guidelines for visitors. How could we make this feel safe and welcoming? And how were we going to reframe a whole experience (from a web site in three languages through to the entire visitor flow requiring hundreds of new touchpoints to be repositioned and designed)? - How do you promote a wonderful museum experience that has the power to bring inspiration and perhaps escapism, when you are also required to communicate the reality of the new masked / gloved / socially distanced visit? And practically, how is this done with no imagery of the new 'reality' and limited / no opportunity to shoot within the premises? - Finally, the mass of operations - lengthy risk assessments, modelling visitor behaviour at the museum to understand movements, rostering and testing of all staff regularly, border closures requiring creative solutions for contractors unable to deliver supplies and services, coining all terminology for a completely new museum in multiple languages and in a way that is comforting and welcoming…. We found solutions and opened on 24 June with the message 'Louvre Abu Dhabi. A mindful museum. For culture. For community. For one another'. Join us to share these major learnings and what Is next….. San Francisco: 9 September 11.30PM // New York: 2.20AM // Sydney: 4.30PM // Europe: 8.30AM // Abu Dhabi: 10.30AM