Episode 12: Alison Byrne and Brad Tuggle from Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

If you’re listening to this in April 2020, which is when I’m recording this, I don’t need to tell you how much has changed in the world since the last time I did an episode of What’s On. If you happen to be listening in the distant future and don’t remember what I’m talking about, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and museums are temporarily closed to the public. Physically, at least.

As days of sheltering in place turned into weeks, and now over a month, museum members, families, and just people in general have been hungry for the sort of cultural and educational sustenance that only a museum can provide. And some museums are using digital tools to rise to the occasion.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking through the excellent thread of posts using the #MuseumFromHome hashtag, and I spotted a tweet from Virginia MOCA announcing the launch of a new site: Virtual VA MOCA. When I clicked through, I landed on a pretty robust site, with virtual galleries of current exhibitions, educational resources and videos made from home, and interviews with artists, who are exhibiting from home. All of this was built out on a free Google site, and it felt totally made for this exact moment. Because it was.

I started this podcast two years ago to showcase the great work museums are doing with online content, in the hopes of inspiring other museum professionals who are struggling with content strategies. And now, more than ever, that’s my goal. So I spoke with Brad Tuggle, Virginia MOCA’s Director Of Audience Development, and Alison Byrne, Director of Exhibitions and Education, to ask them to share a little inspiration in this strange and challenging time.