RAFFMA made numerous adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from connecting with each other to connect with their audience.
It’s been a big shift for the marketing department as well and staying in contact with their members and community. The teams continue working from home and coming up with new projects. This includes student assistants. Each person has their own projects and tasks ranging from creating crafts for every child they have in their summer workshops to making transcriptions and audio logs for their virtual tours.
One of the upcoming virtual tours they are working on is their 3D Virtual Exhibition called Endomorphism by David B. Jang.
His Exhibition gives an in-depth tour of the two-dimensional works that he created from everyday materials giving a uniquely playful and colorful environment to his audience.
Director of RAFFMA Eva Kirsch stated that they had many events for spring, summer, and fall but everything had to be canceled or moved to virtual-only mode due to the campus closure.
The team decided to sit down and brainstorm what kind of experiences could they give to their audience that they could enjoy at home because a large part of the museum is an in-person experience when people visit.
They created a program that lets people visit their museum from home. It’s an audio recording tour that talks about each exhibition and each artifact with attached photos of each item.
The program is called “RAFFMA @ HOME” it lets you listen, watch, learn and, browse about any content they’ve had throughout the years and new content that will be coming soon.
The program has helped the team stay working on new content and events that they’re working on from home. Each team member has a different role in their department that they are working on.
Their most visited exhibition is the Egyptian collection and a way of know this is because of the museum’s way of keeping records of each person that visits the museum.
They have a sign-in system that’s on an iPad and after the visitors sign in they are asked why they decided to visit. Several students take classes that require them to visit RAFFMA like art or history classes that help them learn about certain exhibitions like their Egyptian collections. But students can now excess everything from their website and stay updated.
All in-person events have been either canceled or postponed until further notice. This change has affected the marketing department.
Miranda Canseco, a Marketing, Membership and Engagement Coordinator at RAFFMA states that the marketing side is now more crucial than ever.
“We need to be reaching out to our members and our community and our campus community, so marketing any content that we have is very important, we’ve taken a shift to provide more curated content and consistent content in all of our social media platforms,” said Canseco.
Student Assistants have been working hard as well according to Miranda. She states that there are seven student assistants as of right now that have been there the whole quarter.
“It was very important that we kept them because of the whole situation we didn’t want to unemployed anyone so we got creative on how we can keep them on board still, so they’ve been very crucial and assisting with RAFFMA @ HOME,”, said Canseco.
Chase Hanson is a junior student at CSUSB and a RAFFMA student assistant. He was hired right before the quarantine began so he wasn’t able to get very much experience inside the museum.
Chase’s role at RAFFMA is to work at the front desk and is in training to work more on the education side. But due to the pandemic, the role shifted a bit so now he makes transcriptions and log files of old interviews, lectures, and different audio logs they have at the museum. This now goes towards their virtual tour of the museum online, also known as RAFFMA @ HOME.
“While it is sad that we don’t have the doors open, it’s giving us the chance to get into that backlog and doing crazy accessibilities for everyone. We’re working towards digitizing large parts of the museum,” said Chase.
Teresa Brashear, a first-year student at CSUSB spoke about her roles at RAFFMA and how they’ve shifted due to COVID-19. She spoke about how this quarantine has improved communication between the team and audience.
It’s also made her feel more active with the audience because she’s been creating crafts for them and the kids, doing a lot more for them as opposed to sitting in a desk and reading.
RAFFMA @ HOME has been a really great help for her and the team, it’s kept the museum active. Many people have been enjoying everything they’ve been doing in this online program. Some big projects they’ve been working on are a Virtual Relativity 3D which is still in the process. They have also been taking audio recordings and transcribing them into videos.
One of the challenges RAFFMA’s team has been facing would be issues with their WiFi connection. There has been time where they have their meetings and zoom crashes or the WiFi goes out. This can be difficult when interacting with each other and their audience but as far as communicating between one another it’s been great with.
“I think after all this we’re going to have a much more interactive audience and I think we’re going to have a stronger team,” said Brashear.