When we found out we were going to be in London for the Children’s Laureate, I contacted Ian, the Manager at my absolutely favorite museum in the world (Natural History Museum – NHM) and asked if we could meet up. I hadn’t an agenda, or fact, a clue as to what I was going to say or what the meeting was going to about but I tend not to let little details gets to me.
As I was also speaking to the person behind the NHM twitter account, the other CultureThemes partners were invited to attend. Luckily Michael from Poole Museum was able to attend with me. That meeting went very well with NHM agreeing to become a partner with CultureThemes.
Then we met Ian. For those who don’t know, Ian tweets under @NHM_MusMgr and has been using social media (mainly twitter) in a very positive way for a cultural institution. I have often tweeted Ian with either praise or sometimes suggestions (earning me the title ‘gadfly’ – which I’m sort of proud of ;-).
It was great discussing the fantastic work NHM is doing both via social media and for kids. I spent the morning at a London Ambassador meeting (for the Olympics) and they gave me a magazine which said NHM was third in London for kids to go to (beating the Science Museum). We also chatted about the Dino-snores events that are held there. I’m a mom of one and unfortunately, in order to attend a Dino-snores, you have to have 5 kids. I’m not sure what Ian could do about it, if anything, but it was nice to voice my issue.
We also chatted about social media for cultural institutions. NHM was used as a good example by Rich Mintz at MuseumNext for the way they have embraced twitter. NHM and Ian try to respond / acknowledge tweeters who mention them in their tweets. This is done by either answering the questions, or commenting on the people who might be annoyed with something (usually the queuing). But they also encourage visits from people who mention they *might* come to the museums. There is no statistical data to prove whether this is working or not, but I can tell you from a end-user point of view, it would swing my vote!
Natural History Museum has Seven Twitter accounts:
@NHM_London – the main account for general tweets
@NHM_Id – Have you ever found an insect you weren’t sure what it was? They will help you!
@NHM_MusMgr – Ian
@NHM_Visiting – Great account to follow, especially during busy times. Lets you know the projected waiting time.
@NHM_Dippy – Dippy the Dinosaur that greets you from the main entrance. This account has some exciting tweets in the works so Watch this space!
@NatureLive – Live tweets during after-hour events. Very interesting to follow especially for people like me that can’t get to London on a Friday night.
@NHMevents – news and tips about hosting events in the museum
We chatted for about an hour, with Michael and Ian also getting some words in (despite the tone of this update making it sound like I did all the talking).
It was great being able to reach out and discuss things with Ian. Point for social media as I know this meeting would not have taken place a few years ago.