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Behind the curtains of museums. St. Petersburg joined the international #MuseumWeek 2015


Learn unique information about museums, share impressions by using special hashtags and even make a selfie with displayed items in the background. For instance, clicking on the #SecretsMW hashtag would let you know what is concealed beyond the “Staff only” sign.


The main topic today – museum souvenirs, hashtag #souvenirsMW. What else can internet users and art lovers expect? Alexander Chuev knows the answer.

Alexander Chuev, reporter: “In this Green room of the Sheremetyevskiy Palace, there’s a hidden door behind me which leads directly to the private office of Count Dmitriy Nikolayevich Sheremetyev, where he worked and slept. And when he was getting tired of his guests, he discreetly went into his chambers through that door”

The museum of theatric and musical art opened the secret of this door to its followers on Twitter. Joined by 1500 museums across the world which also revealed their secrets. Thus, the Twitter event Museum Week was kicked off.

Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO: “Twitter has always been a platform for changes, for expression of free ideas, thoughts, and limitless movement. And one of our best ideas which has met all this criteria is the Museum Week”

Every day has its own topic and its own hashtag. Today is the day of souvenirs. It means that the Twitter feed is filled with pictures of fridge magnets, cups and statuettes. Tomorrow all museum Twitter accounts will be talking about architecture, gardens and quarters. Followed by the day of museum selfies, the family day, the favorite displayed items day, culminated on Sunday with visitors themselves becoming museum items. Some in Russia have been cautious about this new global flash mob.

Mikhail Piotrovskiy, director of the State Hermitage: “The majority of online initiatives are not bad. But the internet in general is a dump. That’s why our task is to rectify the internet by creating apps, scripts and websites destined to change it. In that sense, we think that museum participation on Twitter makes it the weapon of culture, not the weapon of gossip and political influence”

Around thirty Russian museums decided to join the Hermitage in this global event – including the Tretyakovskaya Gallery, the Pushkinskiy Museum, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and even the Kizhi reserve. Why supporting European colleagues in the times of mutual sanctions? Might be to raise the number of visitors, but maybe this Twitter flash mob is a good way to show our allegiance to the world culture, which never depends on political tensions.

Ekaterina Volkova, head of PR department at the State Museum of Religious History: “Our task here is not only about attracting new visitors, but to create the image of the museum within global space. It is very important to us to tell others what is going on in our museum’s life, what exhibitions it holds”

Eventually, the main participants of the #MuseumWeek event are users of social media. It is for them that 50 countries take photos and write educational and entertaining posts. Who knows – maybe 140 symbols will help somebody – without any deep sense - plan the upcoming weekend.