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The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art Has Gone Virtual

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art has been closed since the middle of March due to COVID-19, and it has been a learning curve for staff as they have worked together to brainstorm ideas to continue to reach out to their museum supporters. The MGMoA has turned to virtual media, like so many other museums have. The MGMoA has been posting frequently to their social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They have posted various photos of artwork from their permanent collection, LIVE virtual tours through their Facebook, videos of pieces form their back-collection room (where not many people get to see), and various nature photos from around the museum.

The museum has shown viewers up close videos of various pieces from their back-collection room. They have shown viewers an ancient Anasazi mug, a German Fowling Crossbow, real poison dart arrows from Africa, a low relief carving from the Temple of King Philip II, and a Chinese Sword called a Zhan Ma Dao. The museum plans to continue making these videos to help connect viewers to their collection and answer any questions that may come up.

The MGMoA has also been participating in virtual live tours where staff allow viewers to see what is in the permanent gallery, and since it’s a live video feed, followers are encouraged to ask questions that are answered on the spot. The first tour was at the end of March, and one item in the collection become a big hit, and that was the MGMoA’s mummy cat! The ancient Egyptians would mummify animals and the MGMoA’s mummy cat made it on to TV with the help of OETA’s Gallery America.

The MGMoA is working hard to make these videos and photos accessible through their various social media pages, as well as through their new YouTube channel, where they will upload all their videos of the back-collection room so it can be viewed by a wider audience. The museum is also brainstorming a way to provide a virtual tour to be uploaded to YouTube that will be broken down into grade and age levels from pre-k to college level tours. This will allow educators and teachers to share the museum collections in sections to their students depending on what they are teaching and what grade level their students are.

The main goal of the Museum is to bring the world to Oklahoma, and they continue to do so by providing virtual ways of showing their collection. The museum is working toward an opening at the beginning of June. The museum holds the health and safety of their staff, visitors, volunteers, and students in highest regard, and will be working to keep everyone safe when their doors open once more.

Because of this, the museum staff has decided to cancel Summer Art Programs. “It was a hard decision. We care about the safety and health of our young artists and students that participate in our art classes and programs, but it's only for this summer we trust, and we hope to be able to invite our young artists back to the museum in the fall,” says Amber DuBoise-Shepherd, Manager of Education and Outreach. DuBoise-Shepherd is brainstorming on creating art kits, for a fee, that parents and guardians can pick up from the museum to create art at home. “Art is very crucial now more than ever and so that is why we would like to reach out and get art projects into the hands of our local kids” says DuBoise-Shepherd. If an art kit is something you would be interested in, please email the museum at education@mgmoa.org.

Museum staff extends their best wishes to all their supporters. The MGMoA is still accepting donations and you can find out more at www.mgmoa.org. If you are interested in following them on social media please follow them at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at MGMoA or Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. You can also subscribe and follow their new YouTube channel at Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art for new videos of their amazing world-wide collection. The museum is still closed to the public, and staff asks that if you wish to contact them please send emails to info@mgmoa.org.