People around the world are stuck at home and socially distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we want to bring the outdoors inside. The New-York Historical Society partnered with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., to send virtual rays of #MuseumSunshine to lighten moods and brighten social media feeds.
We hope you find this Hudson River School painting by Frederic Edwin Church as soothing and hopeful as we do! 😀 pic.twitter.com/SKAyIqKcMW
— New-York Historical Society (@NYHistory) April 21, 2020
Hundreds of cultural organizations—all of which have temporarily shuttered because of the COVID-19 outbreak—sent sunny images and vibrant objects from their collections to other museums on Twitter.
The Clyfford Still Museum in Denver shared bright yellow canvases while the National Air and Space Museum basked in a radiant abstract painting. The Smithsonian wrapped themselves in a warm “Harvest Star” quilt. Twitter followers could even find a time lapse video of sunlight sweeping through stained glass at the Washington National Cathedral.
“A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life…” #YayoiKusama ☀️
Sending you Kusama-inspired #MuseumSunshine, @agotoronto @TheBroad @iheartsam @HighMuseumofArt @ClevelandArt 💛 https://t.co/DsSnVviJtG pic.twitter.com/HUJiMmbU0n
— Hirshhorn (@hirshhorn) April 21, 2020
From 30-million-year-old insects trapped inside amber to an image of the sun’s surface, science and natural history museums had fun in the virtual sun. Aquariums took a deep dive to send some sparkle, like this yellow tang from the Shedd in Chicago. The National Zoo even shared a video feed of their cheetah cubs.
Our spot 🐆 of #MuseumSunshine 🌞 is a golden pile of fuzzy cheetah cubs. 😍 Sending four chirping cheetahs 🐾 🐾 🐾 🐾 your way @casciencecenter, @kidspacemuseum and @OntScienceCtr #EarthOptimism pic.twitter.com/O0dUezVkTS
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) April 21, 2020
More than 3,000 users shared the more than 5,000 posts with the hashtag, including more than 725 museums, libraries, galleries, and other cultural organizations. All together, the hashtag reached more than 50 countries outside of the United States, from as far away as Morocco, Malaysia, and Pakistan. Overall, #MuseumSunshine reached over 40 million people. The hashtag trended worldwide on Twitter and news outlets like the Observer picked up the story.
One person tweeted, “The whole #MuseumSunshine hashtag is a joy.” Another said, “Not getting outside today, but this is a close second! #MuseumSunshine.” Another tweet encouraged people to browse, saying “If anyone is looking for a little happiness today, the #MuseumSunshine hashtag is delightful and is making me smile on this dreary morning.”
While you do what you can to stay home and slow the spread, browse the hashtag online here or post your own sunny views.
Top image: Frederic Edwin Church (1826 – 1900), Early Autumn, ca. 1865-1866, Collection of Arthur and Eileen Newman, Bequest of Eileen Newman. New-York Historical Society
Written by Emily Haight, social media manager