By Mah Noor, September 3 2020 —
With the onset of COVID-19, many have had to adapt and figure out how to navigate virtual spaces as we find ourselves faced with continuing social distancing protocols. To deal with this, the staff at the Glenbow Museum have launched a program called Glenbow From Home, allowing individuals to explore exhibits and works of art from the safety of their homes.
Exhibits and works of art are available on Glenbow’s website, for virtual museum-goers to explore, and videos are available on their YouTube channel, as well. Through this initiative, Glenbow aims to provide a bright spot in the hardship that has become our daily lives.
Glenbow From Home is an experience that loosely mirrors the museum’s in-person offerings, supplementing the online images and descriptions. There are pre-recorded virtual tours available that showcase the exhibits in a way similar to an in-person tour. These videos include museum staff speaking about the backgrounds of the works of art and objects to give viewers a deeper understanding of the exhibit’s meaning.
Glenbow From Home also includes artist talks — extended conversations with speakers, artists and curators — which are longer than tours and provide in-depth insight and background into the works and objects.
A third online offering is based on the discovery rooms at the physical museum. It’s a self-guided offering detailing small projects people can do from home if they’re looking to fill their time with something creative.
One of the newer exhibits that was highly recommended to me by museum staff member, Jenny Fisher, was Dynamic Connections, Threads of Living Memory. This exhibit debuted shortly before the museum was forced to close down due to the pandemic, so many people may not have gotten a chance to see it. The exhibit draws on Glenbow’s Inuit textiles collection as well as items on loan to them from across Canada. It features some artwork but also some functional objects that carry cultural memory, ideas and stories that seek to foster a deeper connection between viewers and the land they reside on. All these works, some old and some contemporary, are by Inuit women and the museum has plans to expand the exhibit by doing interviews and talks with the artists and creators
While the Glenbow Museum has moved forward with plans to reopen, their first day open to the public being Aug. 3, they are excited to continue with the Glenbow From Home program. The museum staff feel that it will allow those who may not be able to go out due to health or personal reasons to continue to be able to explore and enjoy exhibits as well. The program has also given museum staff an opportunity to experiment with a new form of media, including more videos than they’ve ever incorporated before, and they feel that it allows for increased accessibility so that their collection will be available to a wider audience. Glenbow From Home is a great way to continue to foster human connection through art in a time when we are all isolated from one another.