The ways museums have tried to increase their visibility and use social media to their advantage in recent years is endlessly fascinating to me. One of the most original — and effective — global campaigns I’ve seen yet is the #MuseumSelfie so I wrote about it briefly on January 17 (now officially Museum Selfie Day):
What that selfie should look like is entirely up to the photographer; it can be a shot of a museum ticket stub, include artworks or dinosaur bones or shiny automobiles in the background, or show a person standing outside the museum’s entrance. The only caveat is to leave the selfie stick at home, as many museums have banned the device out of fear that they will disturb other visitors or might damage works of art.
The campaign also had me sorting through old photos in search of my very own #Museumselfie. I don’t have many — usually I’m too busy looking at the are. But I found this, a bleak and more somber image than most, but here I am at the El-De Haus in my hometown of Cologne, snapping myself in the midst of the memorial to those executed by the Gestapo in the courtyard of the former Gestapo headquarters. It’s bleak, I know. The memorial, though, was new at the time and it’s important for museums to pay homage to both the beauty in art and the ugliness in reality.