The Uffizi on TikTok | Art Museum’s Unique Response to the Pandemic

One painting featured on the Uffizi TikTok

The pandemic has encouraged a lot of players in the art world to boost their online presences. Galleries and museums have had to get a little creative, finding ways to reach art enthusiasts online and still create memorable experiences. One well-known art museum in Florence, Italy has taken an approach that’s unique…if not downright weird. While other art museums have focused on providing virtual tours and reaching out to their regular audiences, The Uffizi has taken to TikTok.

According to this New York Times article, The Uffizi isn’t alone—as of last week, there were 11 museums on the popular video-sharing platform. But The Uffizi’s account stands out. 

Using Humor to Reach a New Audience

Other art museums like the Rijksmuseum and Madrid’s Prado Museum are mostly using TikTok as another method for giving short virtual tours and educational talks. The Uffizi, on the other hand, is capitalizing on TikTok’s meme-focused style to engage young viewers. 

Before TikTok, The Uffizi was behind in terms of online engagement. The museum has only had a website for five years, and it didn’t have a Facebook page until the start of the pandemic. But with the museum closing its doors to the public in the spring, the director knew something had to happen. He noticed that one of the administrative assistants had a sense of humor and social media savvy, so he put her in charge of getting the museum started on TikTok.

She ran with it. Approaching art as something living and relevant, she started creating videos that fondly mock beloved museum pieces. So far it’s definitely been capturing interest, and over 25K viewers have already subscribed. 

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Does This Approach Make Sense?

Despite the following The Uffizi has found on TikTok, it seems unlikely that many other art museums will follow suit. At least not in the near future. The Uffizi’s move has been a bold and unconventional one.

It will be interesting to see the effect of the Uffizi’s TikTok efforts when the museum opens back up. Sure, young people have been following its wacky social media experiment, but has it expanded their appreciation for art? Will they go see the real art behind the memes?

Cover Image: Caravaggio’s Medusa from the Uffizi’s collection

About the Author: Mara Blackwood

Mara Blackwood is the Executive Editor of RedDotBlog

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