Funding restoration is a crucial issue for heritage sites, especially for one visited by more than 5 million yearly visitors like the Vatican Museums. Thanks to social networks and communities, cultural institutions can rely more and more on their fans, followers and admirers.
Because Vatican City is a World Heritage site with thousands of artworks, a simple limited-time crowdfunding campaign would probably not have been enough to support comprehensive long-term restoration scheme..
That’s why Juliana Biondo, digital initiatives manager for Patrons of the Arts at Vatican Museums, imagined a mobile app to encourage long-term fundraising. Called Patrum, the app delivers content about the heritage that needs restoration and more widely about the Vatican, and gives Vatican-lovers a place to chat and form a real community, where they can join Vatican curators for chats.
Anyone, patron or simple user, can access available information to learn about the Vatican Museums, follow the restoration process, comment on works of art, connect with fellow art lovers. Patrum is very much content-oriented and the daily facts and news help keeping people engaged, but as the final intention is to raise money for restoration, there is some exclusive content for patrons: more features, especially physical ones, like complimentary and personalised tours, direct contact to curators and restorers and skip-the-line access to St. Peters Basilica.
Giving out rewards that are exceptional experiences on-site instead of social media shoutouts or books and exhibition catalogues may be one of the easiest and best ways to thank patrons: Who doesn’t want to have the opportunity to come and see what they are funding with their own eyes? Even better, people who use the app to find information during their visit at the Vatican Museums and then fund the restoration in just one click can enjoy a complimentary tours or a skip-the-line access during their stay, which is a real incentive.
Patrum has been launched on July 31st earlier this year and its community has outgrown the app: Patrons organise events both in the Vatican Museums and in their own countries all around the world. There have not been many crowdfunding success stories besides the regular campaigns at the Louvre so this is definitely an achievement. A beautiful way to use content, storytelling and digital to create a physical network of patrons all around the world.