The Greater Vernon Museum & Archives “Isolate and Create Platform” has been nominated for a 2020 BCMA Outstanding Achievement Award, Award for Excellence in Community Engagement!
When COVID19 hit, many businesses, cultural, and historical organizations had to close their doors to the public. During conversations with the local organizations, the Greater Vernon Museum & Archives (GVMA) determined that in order to weather the storm, a new format of community engagement needed to occur. While the Museum doors are closed, their staff provided online design and programming to host the Isolate & Create platform. This platform has played an essential role in the community by providing grants (from RDNO) to partner cultural organizations to record and produce online activities and historical knowledge to educate, entertain and engage their local community while they self-isolate at home. Importantly, this platform and its funding has allowed organizations for the first time to develop online-content to engage with the community, pivoting from in-person when their museum and gallery doors are closed.
The online platform has created an opportunity for arts, culture, and heritage organizations to come together and collaborate on a platform, and provided a place for organizations and projects to share information, stay top of mind, and interact with existing and new audiences through cross-promotion.
During a pandemic, the Isolate and Create platform has given people hope, inspiration and a way to connect. Isolate and Create has had an immense community impact, from seniors in the community stating that the platform is “saving their lives” while they are isolated at home during COVID-19, to generating to volunteer membership for the museum, supporting local businesses, and providing a safe and inviting space for those isolating at home to connect to members of their local community, as well as learn and engage with creative content from local experts and organizations. The online platform has allowed the general public, seniors, children, and families to stay safe at home while they self educate, learn something new, and gain access to innovative programming.
While the Greater Vernon Museum & Archives and their partners initial goal was to engage their local community of the rural interior of BC, they have received feedback from across the nation, demonstrating success by evaluating and measuring the platforms’ reach.