Mikhail Piotrovsky: the Hermitage is closed, but there are 15 million visitors

For two weeks in quarantine, we have already collected about 15 million hits in social networks and on the website. This we have never been! So, what is happening?

Every day, the Hermitage online, we announce the programme for the day. Each day has its own theme, which comes with 5 videos. This movie of our series “Hermitage Academy”, “the Caretaker at the Hermitage”, “My Hermitage”.

And viewers still have to choose between them and the first impressions that we, too, happen every day. A few days before the quarantine, we – price wild effort managed to remove dozens of lectures, tours, stories, which now become our daily premieres. So, you can see a video of all our exhibitions, starting with “It’s Potemkin himself” and ending with exhibitions of porcelain, the order of St. George, skin art, Korean art ( which, incidentally, was opened during the quarantine), Architectural Bureau “Studio 44”, the memory of the great Prince Sergei Alexandrovich. Who could not see, he shouldn’t worry, premiere will still be repeated.

the Philosophy of our life in quarantine, above all, practical. We are actively developing contactless communication (which are actually very much in the spirit of the XXI century) and examine how virtuality and authenticity are superior to each other.

Photo: Igor Russak/RIA Novosti the Hermitage showed how to live in the isolation of the Museum cats

Our General position is known all over the world: virtual is nice, but the original is 100 times better. But during the quarantine connection between virtuality and authenticity become more complicated. And we have to find out yourself.

But that’s not the game around the Museum of things, not a feast during the plague, no. We are trying to create for the viewer a semblance of direct and present communion with the Hermitage. Not glamorous, but as ifOh you really got us in the Museum.

For this we, first, explain how it works. Quarantine, of course, brought to the fore the task of ensuring the security of the collection are very different, from the physical to the climate. There, in the Netherlands, using coronaviruses, van Gogh’s painting was stolen. Our security team is guarding the Museum with the help of latest tools and technologies, all the time viewing the displays and exhibitions of electronics. And the keepers watch it on distance and amount to acts of checks, as is done in the Museum at the normal time.

But the security checks and the matter is not exhausted. Of course, we can’t think of a collection. And so I decided shooting empty rooms, which conducts security reviews of the Hermitage staff to turn into a kind of lectures “on distance”. And these almost ephemeral shooting in 34 hours recording is destroyed, and live commentary with it – suddenly began to enjoy great success. Particularly in Instagram, where direct communication is one of the main advantages.

in General the idea of slowly watching the Museum and its audience we discussed with Alexander Sokurov. And implemented. We have three cameras 24 hours show: one – Palace square, the other is the courtyard of the Hermitage, the third – Halls of Raphael, the Madonna Conestabile, Holy family and Boy on a Dolphin. This slow inspection – not just a trick, but a very important thing. To see how it looks in the morning, evening, night, appear in the square and people disappear.

it is time we took with Apple’s movie without a break shows the Hermitage Museum is 5 hours and 25 minutes. This is like “slow reading.”

the Museum is now possible to hear and see more in-depth than the usual sightseeing and thematic tours.

And considering that the Hermitage is a global Museum, and there are many viewers who speak different languages, we decided to do more tours in Italian, English and Chinese. One was very large, itAlianza thanked the mayor of Venice almost with tears in his eyes, and without tears – the Minister of culture of Italy. English friends we are also very grateful for it.

Readers of “homeland” are the first to see new amazing exhibits in the Hermitage collection

However, some comments by the Russian audience was initially quite aggressive: why should I, a Russian man, watching the tour in Italian? (Though in Russian these trips we also have). But gradually and they have the feeling that in these excursions is something there, even if you don’t know Italian. And now, instead of offense appears pride: how good our Hermitage refers to the entire world!

the social networking interactivity of tours, lectures, workshops, very large. The site of a very popular virtual walks, during which you can “get around” almost all the halls of the Hermitage, as well as videoresize about our store and restoration workshop in the Old Village.

So, around the Hermitage the Hermitage created something similar with a TV program and a special philosophy. And had accumulated 15 million views on social media and on the website, which we never had. Real visitors we have only 5 million a year. It is clear that not all of the 15 million real visitors to the Museum, but nevertheless it very much.

we Have an unexpected opening. It turned out that the quarantine is a time and a dream come true.

for Example, dreams of the Keeper of the empty Museum where no one, and you can go wherever you want and what you want to do. But a dream come true – it’s always an additional challenge. Suddenly it turned out that when the Museum is empty for a very long time without visitors, he (the Museum) is not very good.

Another dream come true: to quarantine in the Museum you can see everything for free. But the question immediately arises autorska rights when playing. For museums they are solved not so difficult, but the theatres have to suffer from the tyranny of the agencies that protect copyrights, and is a big brake in ensuring the availability of culture. The other is a dream come true – a Museum without a queue. Please see anything. But suddenly found the lost modern audience the depth of understanding. This can be seen by the same visitors ‘ comments. People are very accustomed to the kind of fast food – short sightseeing tours from the tour guides travel agencies: one-two-three-four, the kings, paintings, Rembrandts-Rubens, Nicholas I, ran and all. We at the Hermitage this is not proposed. We offer delicacies. And meetings with our professional guides and guardians (which every day affect invaluable things) – is quite another thing. And again what is the genre of the story slow, and we have to think how to bring up difficult visitor.

Photo: youtube.com/The State Hermitage Museum “long live Russia!” The Italians are delighted with the online tours of the Hermitage

We, of course, in quarantine analyzed the audience. I watch almost all reviews, and see that they become more interesting. When the Museum opened, we always write letters of complaint to: all in the closet, I mean. And now people are responding to what they see. And I must say that the degree of goodness in people, judging by the reviews – it is huge.

we now Have the opportunity to perform its educational work – the different types and styles of lectures, tours, stories, impressions, quick, long, small, large.

Our guides are accustomed to the fact that they usually seem wrong – for records and broadcasts, to the detriment of the live communication. And here is a mix of live and electronic communication is also aboutvery important experience for us.

We do not forget about the worries of the Union of museums of Russia, and try to tell other people about museums. In our social networks, we have shown pre-filmed videos about the Museum “St. Petersburg area” and the Museum of model railroad bridges. It is very important to draw attention to small museums that have no state subsidies, and they are especially bad. And even more important that people have not forgotten them by the time they open.

As President of the Union of museums I made a special appeal to the heads of regions and departments with justification of the need to support municipal and departmental museums. We need to be reminded about the importance of museums subordinate to local authorities, which is always a lot of other things, or inside offices.

We try to change something and in the financing of museums. I think together with the Ministry of culture – I wrote about this a number of letters, – how to change the order. Now, when there are no visitors, it is especially clear that the number is not the main criterion.

Photo: Sergey Mikheev/RG In Russian museums discussed the ways to survive in a pandemic

Try to reconsider its attitude to the issues of government funding. Want to understand what the state should necessarily Finance and regardless of their income or not. I think that the results of our reflection on this topic will be very important.

the Time that we’re going through now reminds me of the 90-ies. No money, incomes are falling, the situation is unclear, and everything is changing almost every day. And you can’t decide, looking back (as we already used to do) only on instructions from the top. Need your and very fast.

we Have, of course, is not a war, but the experience of the blockade, as the experience of evacuation in Sverdlovsk, in some of its parts is again an actevery single. Recently recalled the daily routine in Sverdlovsk, and there every day to check things. High discipline, a combination of science lessons and storage, all this is very handy for remote work. And how to complain that we are sitting at home discouraged, knowing that the people in the bomb shelters of the Hermitage were engaged in science.

Our vast Hermitage online program, with all its foreign otherness, the roots goes back to what was laid down in the siege, when I took the tour through the halls where they had hung only empty frames, or to commemorate anniversaries of Nizami and Navoi. Again, we understand that it is important not only to exist, but to show the world how museums are living in such difficult conditions.