Finalist category: Arts and Culture Award
Arts and Culture Award, Finalist, 2020
The Cooper Gallery, operated by Barnsley Museums, was forced to close its doors in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Like many people and organisations, they had to explore new ways of engaging with its audience online.
One of their creative ideas has been digital jigsaws, which have been made using artwork from its collections. Since the first week of lockdown, the team has set a daily challenge for its followers on the museum’s social media pages that can be found here and here.
Each jigsaw comes with a snippet of information about the artwork and artist, and there is a chance to tailor the number of pieces meaning that the puzzles are adaptable for all abilities and ages. The team regularly share bonus puzzles and challenges too.
While lots of people enjoy the daily challenge, many more see this as a mindfulness exercise and enjoy exploring new pieces of art. As lockdown eases, Barnsley Museums will gradually reopen its venues to the public again but will keep sharing these digital jigsaws while there is still demand for them.
Lots of other galleries have been inspired by the challenge and have created their own puzzles, where anyone can find these puzzles through the #MuseumJigsaws hashtag. The puzzles have been part of a much wider online programme of events, more information can be found on the website here and previous puzzles can be found here.