The Italian artistic and cultural heritage is undoubtedly enormous. It seems, however, that not everyone wants to use and access it.
Engaging young visitors is far from simple, it is necessary to find a language suitable for their age group, it must be easy and captivating.
Many museums, not only Italian ones – the first to experiment in this sense was the Met in New York in 2013 – have tried to involve young visitors through influencer marketing strategies.
The increase in visits by young people has been indisputable, but the combination of influencers and museums has caused quite a stir in the world of culture, which has not at all liked the social stars in the role of cultural ambassadors.
The Uffizi Galleries, with the hope of relaunching the image of the museum in view of the post-pandemic reopening, in July 2020, hosted the influencer Chiara Ferragni, taking advantage of a photo shoot she was doing for Vogue magazine, organized in the halls of the museum.
On this occasion, Ferragni was able to enjoy the beauty of the rooms thanks to an exceptional guide: the director, Eike Schmidt in person.
It is evident that the Uffizi, as well as other museums in our country, have understood that they can arouse the interest of young people, otherwise hardly attracted to visiting a boring museum, through marketing operations, which exploit the image of contemporary social icons.
Chiara Ferragni has been defined “contemporary Venus” by the social media managers of the Uffizi. This, together with the publication of her photos in front of the artworks, have sparked controversy among the people of the web, but not only.
Influencers and museums
The moralists of the art world do not welcome the pairing of influencers and museums, simply for the fact that the former would not be able to understand its artistic and cultural value, and even less so to represent it and communicate it. The criticisms were leveled at the museums for their choices considered too commercial.
The “meddling” by influencers, on the other hand, had a great success. To speak are the numbers, which register increases in visitors. Apparently, not even this has served to appease the controversy of the “haters”, who consider all this an aggravating factor, as these would be unwitting visitors, attracted only by the influencer of the moment.
This one by Ferragni is just one example, probably the most sensational, but many other public figures have collaborated with cultural realities. Rapper Mahmood shot his single in the halls of the Gallerie dei Re at the Egyptian Museum in Turin, the singer Marco Mengoni at Palazzo Madama in Turin, the influencer Cristina Fogazzi was photographed inside the Sistine Chapel. Without forgetting the world of fashion which for some time has chosen museums as a location to give more prestige to the fashion shows.
Evolution or contamination?
Moralists are opposing to fatuous characters taking on the role of cultural messengers. This is not a completely wrong thought, considering that there are experts with much more suitable knowledge and skills. What is certain is that influencers have no intention of being considered art historians. They are just sharing their personal visit, they are expressing their personal opinion on the museum.
This simple narrative language that reaches everyone, is a stimulus to intrigue and encourage young people to visit.
Who benefits from all this? Does the notoriety of these web icons characters give luster to museums or does the timeless charm of our museum rooms increase the popularity of influencers?
But even more importantly: why bother? Why not concentrate on the possible outcome and welcome any idea that could help our immense and very often undervalued cultural heritage?