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International Museum Day 2020: THE CORONA CONUNDRUM


Covid-19 Shelter forces precipitous global change in museum operations, curation and cyber access, as the new post-Corona norm,

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA, May 17, 2020 / -- On the occasion of the 2020 International Museum Day, the Bay Academy (a branch of the BayEcotarium) released a new book titled MUSEUM FUTURES: The CORONA CONUNDRUM by President & CEO George Jacob. This is the ninth book in the FUTURE series authored by the veteran museologist who also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Council of Museums, US chapter.

As the world ushered in the New Year in 2020, no one could imagine how dramatically life would come to a grinding halt globally within a matter of weeks. Sweeping changes of interaction, community engagement and conversations migrated rapidly to the internet and the ecosystem of Internet of Things (IoT) at an unprecedented pace. Museums by definition, are public institutions and destinations that attract visitors. The COVID 19 pandemic has sent shock-waves through the world of museums, as institutions grapple and come to terms with a new reality hinging upon social-distancing. From the sudden spike of activity on social media to the skyrocketing use of Zoom, to the boom of Apps adopting to the new norm, museums, aquariums, science centers and other destinations of augmented learning are unmasking new means, methods and metrics.

As the efficiency models, heuristics and haptics get more sophisticated, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Emotional AI driven world of the Alexa and Siri surrogates will become exponentially omniscient and omnipotent. The book takes a sweeping overview of remotely accessing experiential human interaction and builds a scenario of alt-options and adaptive innovation stemming from societal quarantine. It argues that the time for reactive measures must be replaced with pro-active methods of progressive change, even as it re-defines museums as evolving dynamic souls of civil societies.

Jacob currently heads the Bay Ecotarium in San Francisco- an amalgam of 6 institutions including the Smithsonian Affiliated Aquarium of the Bay and the Sea Lion Center. It is undergoing a $260 million tectonic transformation into the world’s first living museum dedicated to Ocean Conservation and Climate Change where many of the futuristic adaptations will be at play. Given that it is located in the global tech-mecca of the Silicon Valley in California, this environmental edifice will be unlike any other.

Vicki DeWitt
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