Unplug Unwind Unglass
Celebrating 9 years of Brilliance of SHMOG
July 08, 2020
Towards the end of last year, a sudden storm of pandemic disrupted every industry, abruptly “unplugging” everyone’s daily routine. After four months of shutdown, the Shanghai Museum of Glass, gradually warming up through progressive unveiling of its exhibition halls, finalized its full reopening on its ninth birthday.
As a museum that deeply mingles with the medium of glass, the Shanghai Museum of Glass gains the power to rekindle its creeds and to reignite its courage from the everlight flame in the furnace and the continuously melting and reshaping of glass. We believe that it is the interactive, shareable, and experience-based exhibition design that endows the Shanghai Museum of Glass endless possibility to break out of encirclements. As we gain understanding of our visitors, we are designing new visitor-oriented exhibitions and activities that target different types of visitors to provide unconventional and unwound experiences.
Throughout the past year, we upgraded the Murano Restaurant for a 1.5 times larger space while keeping its original Venetian design elements; we moved the factory store, now renamed as Glassy Living Store, to its individual space, and expanded the range of commodities; we aired the Museum Art Apartment, an apartment run solely by the museum, on Airbnb, and received numerous high remarks. Concerning the curation part, the Keep It Glassy series exhibition welcomed its fourth episode, where the “UNGLASS” exhibition discussed the relationship between glass and the way people observe the world; 2019 “Annealing” Project invited contemporary artists SUN Xun and Kelvin Kyung Kun PARK, who never worked with glass before to create with glass, resulting in their individual exhibitions, Frontier Part II and Double Mirror. As for developments in cultural projects, the “All-City-Symphony” landed on the Art Plaza last summer and performed famous film soundtracks; the “Glassy Christmas” provided an avant-garde while trendy museum experience for the young with its large outdoor glass installation The Tune of Rainbow, and its mystery-film tour script The Vanished Artist; the “Endless Kids’ Party Night – Bring Out The Child” market enriched a touring experience with DIY program, interactive games, and retail showcasing; the exhibition-reading interpretation series “the Outsider” and impromptu psychology drama The Light of Broken Glass exhibited the museum public education group’s inner thoughts about exhibitions; the online public audio program and various topics of live streaming mark the Shanghai Museum of Glass’s dedication to its mission of public education.
On June the 20th and 21st, 2020, the Shanghai Museum of Glass took the lead amidst the trend of “mass roadside booths”, utilizing its double identity as both an cultural institution and a shopping site: during its trial to incorporate glass DIY activities into museum collection tours, it enables the visitors to make while watching, to learn while playing.
In the Era of the “Internet 3.0”, we presented the visitors and the industry with a professional live conference between Mr. ZHANG Lin, the Director of Museum and Dr. ZHENG Yi, Associate Prof. of Department of Cultural Heritage and Museology, Fudan University and the Director of Fudan University Museum. This curator’s communication brought about a conversation between an industry delegate’s methodology and an academic professor’s ideology. While looking back upon the history of the Shanghai Museum of Glass, this live conference covered several topics including the management of non-state-owned museums, the market positioning of museums, the relationship between visitors and museums, the museum-based education, and the social responsibilities of museums. These insightful discussions revealed to the public the unique self-inspections and reflections of museum practitioners. The untold story behind the establishment of the Shanghai Museum of Glass, the pioneering concept of a “Museum Park”, the internationalization of the museum, and the restarting journey from “accelerating” to “braking” will surely expand your sights and feast your ears. The Shanghai Museum of Glass is planning to upgrade the Children’s Museum, to increase free tour guides, to improve public education programs, and to refine each existing modules of the museum. The post-pandemic Shanghai Museum of Glass will return with a refreshed face to give visitors a better and warmer experience. As Mr. ZHANG Lin said, a good museum will not thrive without good services. The Shanghai Museum will focus its core attention on “homo sapiens”. To restore and to cultivate the interpersonal relationships is and will always be a major direction of development of the Shanghai Museum of Glass.
Additionally, we have provided visitors with opportunities to meet and interact with jazz bands at random spots in the museum. At this “weekend birthday party”, everyone could get fully relaxed in the “world of glass” and “reset” themselves during this wonderful “unplugged” period of time.
At this turning point marked by the pandemic, the Shanghai Museum of Glass turns its development inward, replacing the outward expansion with inward perfection that would better arrange and utilize existing resources and advantages, in hope of thriving future that roots from accumulation. The contemporary art project “Annealing”, run since 2016, will celebrate its retrospective exhibition. We will also invite more contemporary artists from different backgrounds and different countries to explore and to deconstruct the medium of glass from their own unique perspectives. In the meantime, we will also upgrade our infrastructures, including dining, dwelling, and performing, to provide visitors with a better all-round experience, and to limitlessly expand the possibility of glass.
As the figure nine signifies longevity in Chinese language, the Chinese version of ninth year theme implies a promised wonderful future that comes from the efforts of the present. “The pandemic strikes every single person, every museum and every cultural institution worldwide alike”, says Mr. ZHANG Lin, as such, “it is a bliss for us to be able to reopen and to celebrate our ninth birthday.” The Shanghai Museum of Glass will continue to exploit its potential and to stimulate upgrading. The young Shanghai Museum of Glass will steadily, healthily, ceaselessly walk forward, carrying its motto, “to share the unlimited potential of glass”, further, towards the realization of its ultimate dream to “become a globally influential museum”.