The Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), General Solly Shoke, has described the fight against Covid-19 as akin to World War III. The Covid-19 (Corona virus) has certainly seriously affected nations with far reaching consequences. The nationwide lock down has also affected the South African Naval Museum and like many other museums we had to close our doors to the public during the months of March and April. The closure has affected our business and momentum in a big way, but we are determined to support the steps taken by government to safeguard all South Africans.

Thankfully, the age of the digital revolution, hyper-connectivity and the availability of a host of social media platforms have made it so much easier to communicate with our museum audiences these days. The curator Commander Leon Steyn has therefore packaged a number of “virtual museum tours”. “Taking the museum into the home” so to speak, these video podcasts have been streamed through our Facebook page and group during the last four weeks with good effect, with one or two more to follow.

If one looks at the analytical statistics, one may argue that we have received more “visitors” during the month of lock down than when normally “open”! The South African Naval Museum averages around 1,200 “real-time” visitors per month, while the “virtual tours” and posts on facebook had a total “reach” of 5,253 with a total of 1,482 active engagements between 26 March and 22 April. Not bad, for a small museum that are actually closed!

This proves that there are indeed connectivity between the museum and the public. We do however look forward to the day that we can again open our doors to the public and especially our school groups that we miss so much. Virtual reality will never match the real think. After all, a visit to the museum is a real life experience.
But for the time being, you can follow the YouTube links to the “virtual tours” below:

Museum Virtual Tour 1
Museum Virtual Tour 2
Museum Virtual Tour 3
Museum Virtual Tour 4
Museum Virtual Tour 5
Museum Virtual Tour 6
Museum Virtual Tour 7
Museum Virtual Tour 8