Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum is maintaining an active presence on Clubhouse. Since creating its account on the social audio app earlier this year, the contemporary art institution has amassed 894 followers (as of this writing) and scheduled regular conversations on current and upcoming exhibitions. According to a public relations representative at the museum, “onsite, live commentary of the exhibition from the galleries” have been its most well-received programs.

The museum’s Clubhouse account is part of a digital profile that encompasses Twitter (192.6k followers) and Instagram (209k followers), as well as the MAM Digital initiative, which offered a range of free and paywalled programs. During Mori Art Museum’s temporary closure between April 28 and July 31, 2020, the institution also launched its an online program stacked with virtual screenings, educational materials, and other digital content.

With Clubhouse, though, Mori Art Museum is reaching an audience that skews young and digitally active. According to a survey by Edison Research, 44 percent of users aged 18 and over used Clubhouse once a day, with 70 percent spending one to five hours per week on the app. The museum also joins a growing art and culture contingent on the platform that ranges from curators (SFMOMA’s Tsugumi Maki) to cultural organizations (Neue Galerie) to museum professionals (as seen in groups like the Museum Lounge and Museum Professionals)

Mori Art Museum itself has a good slate of Clubhouse talks coming up, including a spotlight on its curators at work and an introduction to its current exhibition, Another Energy: Power to Continue Challenging — 16 Women Artists From Around the World. The museum’s public relations representative shared more with Jing Culture & Commerce on the venue’s approach to and reception on Clubhouse.

Mori Art Museum’s Clubhouse talks have centered on its exhibitions such as its upcoming session on Another Energy: Power to Continue Challenging (above). Image: Furukawa Yuya, courtesy Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

What prompted the Mori Art Museum to join Clubhouse?
Since it is a tool that makes it easy to livestream, we are still conducting regular streaming, however on a trial basis. By setting up an official Clubhouse account, we are also hoping to increase the number of contact points on the Mori Art Museum official website and/or any other official social media accounts of the Mori Art Museum.

What does Clubhouse allow the museum to do that a seminar or video conference doesn’t?
For example, during the museum’s operating hours, it is rather difficult to livestream anything, as museum visitors are in the exhibition galleries and we would not want to disturb them. However, if audio distribution or streaming is easier, we would not have to worry about capturing the visitors by accident. 

Also, it is important to note that it is psychologically easier on the speakers’ mindsets since Clubhouse content is not meant to be “archived.”

What has the reception of the Clubhouse talks been like so far?
Unlike other social media, there is no “like” when it comes to Clubhouse, so it is rather difficult to know the direct evaluation from the users or the public, but after we kicked it off on April 20 this year, the number of followers has been steadily increasing. 

Now that a great degree of social isolation has been witnessed and individual connections have also become difficult due to the pandemic, through a series of casual talks on the Clubhouse app we are hoping to reach those whom the Mori Art Museum could not previously reach. It is our hope to expand our fan base — increase the number of Mori Art Museum fans as well as art fans.


Jing Culture & Commerce