Today I held MuseumCamp as part of the Vienna Art Week. While it was a small, intimate group we managed to cover many topics and eat A LOT of cupcakes! First and foremost I have to thank eSel (in particular eSeLat) for the invite to be Artists in Residence and showcase MuseumCamp during Vienna Art Week.
Social Media: In Vienna – the uptake to social media is slow. While the public may or may not be using it, the museums seem to be using it for PR/marketing many and to chat to other museums. Not sure where the public comes in but the good news is they seem to recognize it and want to change! For example, as stated by Jennie Carvill ‘engagement in twitter initiatives like #Askacurator or the like is still also largely lacking.’ Is that due to the museums or the public? I’m still not sure.
Hashtags: Another topic was the use of signage in museums to encourage sharing. While at Albertina Museum and Leopold Museum I saw they are great with the signage, but not everyone is sharing. In some museum the reasons are similar – no wifi due to signal issues in the thick (or metal!) walls. But we discussed ways to encourage more participation. I shared Andrew Lewis’ newest case study as an example. And talked about Pompidou #KoonSelfie signage (and the use of a book competition to encourage sharing).
QR Codes: When the topic of new technology came up, it was mentioned that some museums tried 3 years ago with QR codes but many of the public had no idea what they were or how to use. However, now that the advertisers are using them more on posters/signs in the streets, it might be worthwhile to try again on a small exhibition.
Periscope: We discussed how many museums / galleries allow for pictures that maybe they can start to implement Periscope into their sharing. As someone who uses Periscope, I was glad to learn that perhaps there is a way to capture the comments and hearts also which is a great benefit!
Building Communities: One of the difficulties I’ve personally seen in Vienna is the struggle to gain trust with communities. As Vienna is small, many people attend events as a group. It’s hard for an individual to ‘break that cycle’. This spills over to museum/art gallery people. They don’t tend to attend events or conferences to network. I’ve visited museums (and shared along the way) and attended many Vienna Art Week events and tried to introduce myself to new people and while they were always polite the conversation never led anywhere. To be honest, it was a bit frustrating as I probably attended more events that weren’t related to my work but the social integration was closed.
I talked about DrinksThing and as a way to break the communication barriers. As Will Stanley and I know, it isn’t always a first time success but over time, if they are consistent I’m sure it’ll grow. While there were a few examples mentioned of Tweetups for museum people – they seem to give up a bit too earlier. DrinksThings did not take off over night and some nights it was only 3 people who showed. But we were consistent in a monthly event and soon gained the trust of others. However, it’s vital that people in Vienna find the right platform for communications (DrinksThing is twitter and Attending.io based but perhaps Facebook group is more practical here). I noticed that newsletter were stronger in their way to communicate.
We also discussed stARTcamp Wien which happens in Vienna on December 10. It’s a barcamp like MuseumCamp. They to have the issues of people to attend and know why/how it’s important. I’m hoping to be able to support them more in furture.
We as a sector have to look outside our sector for pointers and learning. Publishing, theatres, tech – they are all sharing and there is much to learn from seeing how others vying for the publics attention are handling it.
Young People: We had a brilliant discussion about young people/kids in museums. Many Vienna museums offers many free access to young people. Even here in MuseumQuartiers they have a Kindergarten here as well as Zoom Museum. But young people – teens – are more complex. How to gain their interest in those ‘void’ years. I mentioned TeensInMuseums as a portal for sharing but the answers really need to come from within.
Staff: We had quite a good discussion regarding staff’s role. More important – how allowing more staff to fold into the conversation could make a major difference. This included training staff on social media and art (like @Sree at Met Museum) but also use of monthly meetings to have summative and formative discussions on currently programs and any changes that could be made. I talked about Silvia at the IMA and her evaluation program. Barbara Royc shared her museums have monthly meetings – not always easy to hear the feedback but great to hear they are also making on going changes from the feedback they receive. The meeting are with curators, press, marketing, front of house and more.
In the end, we all agreed we’re going to spend more time together this week with museum visits, food and discussions. And I very much look forward to seeing more of this beautiful city!
I’m excited to learn more about the culture and the people of Vienna this week – with new friends!