Published: April 14, 2020
By Madelia Hickman Ring
ONLINE – A recent phenomenon on social media is the trend for museums – now all closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic – to send virtual flowers to other museums, or the public with the hashtag #MuseumBouquet. Sometimes accompanied by a poem or messages of kindness, these virtual flowers not only demonstrate the camaraderie between institutions but are a fun way to explore flowers in the museum’s collections. Some bouquets were sent in thanks, others were sent as a surprise.
Some institutions were literal in their bouquets, such as the ones sent by the MFA Boston and the Smithsonian American Art Museum; other institutions and organizations got creative, going outside to take photographs of their grounds in bloom, or floral sculptures on their premises.
Sometimes the flowers are the sole feature of a message, in others they can be a much smaller part, as in the tweet sent out by the Automobile Museum to “all classic car enthusiasts out there!”
Works are not always identified in the tweets, leaving the viewer guessing as to who the artist was and perhaps encouraging the viewer to explore the online museum collections. That was the case with bouquets sent by The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, who used a montage of detail images from works at the Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay and Versailles in the message it sent.
Some bouquets were sent to neighboring institutions, as was the case with bouquets traded between two institutions in St Petersburg, Fla.: the Dali Museum and the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art. Other bouquets were sent to museums in other countries, as with the image of Andy Warhol’s “Flowers,” sent from the Hirshhorn museum in Washington, DC, to the Tate museums in England.
Why send a photo when you can send a video? The MassArt Art Museum sent a video of Jennifer Steinkamp’s “Dance Hall Girl, daisies” to the MIT List Arts Center and the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.
Bouquets were not limited to art museums, as the exchange between the Jimmy Carter Library and the George W. Bush Library demonstrates.
If you do not have access to twitter, simply type #MuseumBouquet into Google, sit back and enjoy the good will shared between museums who can not wait to be back open so visitors can explore their collections in person.
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