HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The pandemic pushed many businesses to think outside of the box to survive and museums were no exception.
It’s the first distinction of its kind for the West Virginia Association of Museums and the decision to award the Huntington Museum of Art “Institution of 2021” came largely from its creativity when handling the pandemic.
Once a place of interactive art, music, and education, the Huntington Museum of Art like most places had to close its doors to the public when the pandemic first began.
It’s how they took their art to people’s homes that won them the award specifically made after the pandemic by the WVAM.
“We had to move everything online, we had to go digital and that’s not something we had really done much of,” said Geoffrey Fleming, executive director at HMOA.
Fleming says the education department had to ramp up their programming.
“The ‘Mr. George’ series has been really popular with people which are little snippets with one of our art educators,” he said.
They even have an online ceramics symposium.
“It has proven incredibly popular for artists to watch other artists at work,” said Fleming.
Crystal Wimer, executive director of the WVAM says during the pandemic, cultural institutions are needed more than ever as the gatekeepers of culture.
“We really wanted to reward one of our state’s institutions that went above and beyond and leaned into the chaos and leaned into the challenge,” she said.
We really wanted to reward one of our state’s institutions that went above and beyond and leaned into the chaos and leaned into the challenge.Crystal Wimer, WVAM
The doors at HMOA reopened in July, and as people start to slowly come back their online programing is still available.
In the meantime, they’re looking forward to going back to in-person programming as early as this fall.
The WVAM for their part says they will be taking nominations for next year’s institution of the year award in late December, early January.