TikTok offers worldwide museums tour with first ever livestreamed #MuseumMoment event

Article: David Styles

Black Country Living Museum and the V&A have joined an international line-up of museums taking part in the first ever #MuseumMoment event, organised by social media platform TikTok.

International Museum Day 2021 sees the company debut the format, featuring contributions from 23 museums spread over 12 countries including Japan, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, UK and USA.

Beginning in Singapore, #MuseumMoment aims to send a wave of cultural content rippling around the globe until its conclusion in Mexico.

The livestreamed museums marathon will be hosted on TikTok for Good, the platform’s “global social impact content hub”, where a new AR effect will today be launched. This tool enables users to assume the role of Marie Antoinette and stroll through a virtual gallery at the Palace of Versailles.

Elsewhere, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is offering a talk from its resident taxidermy expert, while the Sacramento History Museum will take viewers on a virtual tour of its print shop – already famous on TikTok thanks to volunteer printer Howard.

The event’s British contingent join the party at 6pm (GMT), as the V&A hosts a session featuring TikTok star Hannah Lowther. Black Country Living Museum follows an hour later with a guided virtual tour of the 1930s.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be part of the #MuseumMoment and to continue to show off our museum to a global audience,” says Abby Bird, audiences & communications manager at the Black Country Living Museum.

“Since posting our first video back in August 2020, we’ve found TikTok to be the perfect avenue to fire up people’s imaginations about the past by telling the real stories of real people in new and creative ways. We’re also excited to see more museums joining the app, as it presents an unmissable opportunity for museums both big and small to be part of a global conversation about what our past means, and most importantly, what we can learn from it.”

The V&A has only been on TikTok for a matter of weeks, but social media manager Annie Andoh, says it is a “great platform for us and other museums and cultural organisations to tell stories differently and dynamically in a way that can showcase the personality and joy that comes with creativity”.

TikTok has seen a rapid rise in the popularity of cultural content during the pandemic, with audiences locked out of their favourite museums and galleries throughout the world. Content labelled #Museum has, in fact, inspired the most video creations around the world, with content growing by almost 200% since May 2020.

“At TikTok, we’re proud to be a place where museums and galleries can open their doors digitally and connect with audiences all over the world with their exciting content,” notes Normanno Pisani, head of media partnerships at TikTok UK.

“This International Museum Day, we can’t wait to see what’s behind the scenes of some of the most iconic institutions in the world and provide a place that can be visited by virtual tourists, who will be immersed in culture from all around the world.”