@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
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    September 16th, 2011mardixonCulture, International

    A Guest Blog by Satoko Shimizu @0bo5_fr who is a Student of Tokyo University of Foreign Languages (TUFS) French major.

    When we hear “social media and museum” we tend to think about interesting action from the museum side for a more open-wide visitor. But social media can be tools that visitors use to express their opinions to the museum.

    In Paris there is an interesting movement as a good example.

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    September 12th, 2011mardixonCulture, Literacy

    After reading @samatlounge  EveryThink: What do you think, Sam Missingham? I started to think about where I see the trend of social media heading.  It seems that, even two years ago, social media was still labelled a kid’s gadget.  You know the stereotype I’m talking about – only ‘kids’ are on Facebook, and only kids were ever on MySpace.

    However, it now seems, slowly but surely, different industries are starting to remove their blinders and recognize they need social media now more than ever.  However, I’ve also been watching how many go in heavy handed relying strictly on their brand name.

    This doesn’t work – especially not on Twitter. Yes you will get the followers flocking like the little birds to a new tree but unless you give us a reason to stay, we will leave.  And when we leave, we will find another tree that meets our needs.

    Consumers have a clear idea of what they want from companies (whether it be book, cultural, IT or fabric industry and everything in between) but companies do not always provide the information desired.  They provide what THEY feel consumers want.

    For me, this is why there is a clear need for a Social Media Strategy regardless of the size of your company or brand.  The big names I have seen flying wingless in the wind have been the ones that clearly do not have a strategy.  They look at social media as something everyone can do – which as Sam pointed out, is not always the case.

    The strategy does not need to be a complicated document but there needs to be guidelines for those you allow to represent your brand.

    Bottom line:  Social media strategy is the puzzle piece that will differentiate those who survive long term and those who don’t.

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    September 8th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Anyone who has read my website knows how passionate I am about  Wolverhampton Art Gallery (see examples here and here) so having an opportunity to interview the curators was a real treat for me.  Wolverhampton has the second biggest pop collection outside of London but also embraces local and social history in addition to Georgian and Victorian art.  It’s a delicate balance to combine all of these under one roof but they have never disappointed.

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    September 4th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Bantock House was built in 1730’s for Bantock family who made their money as a canal and railway agent after moving to Wolverhampton from Scotland.  The house was left to Wolverhampton in 1938 but, as that was world time, it was used for the home guard until 1948.  It wasn’t until 1999 that this Grade II listed building took it’s current, and most impressive, stance as a social history museum.

    I was able to have a chat with three of curators:

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    September 1st, 2011mardixonCulture

    The Wolverhampton Archives falls under the umbrella of the Wolverhampton Arts Services.  Originally started in 1978 with the first archivist, Liz Reese. It’s original position, like many other city archives, were integrated with the library services before they moved to their own premises in 1996 in Snow Hill.  They stayed at Snow Hill until moving to their current, and hopefully permanent, location at the city’s historic Molineux Hotel in March 2009.  The building had remained derelict for many years, and was additionally destroyed by a fire in 2003. Luckily, Caroline Sampson, the archivist at the time, was very proactive.  She saw past the damage and recognized the value of the Grade II* listed building for being the perfect marriage of old with new (there was a new extension added).

    I was able to interview Heidi McIntosh, the City Archivist and Jon Everall, Conservator. However, it was very much a group interview with whoever could/would answer the question.  For example, my first question was actually answered by an Archives and Local Studies Assistant who was researching information behind a desk!  It clearly is a friendly, helpful atmosphere

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    August 29th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Anyone who knows me, knows my passion and love for the Natural History Museum.  Through the power of social media, I’ve been able to build my relationship with the internationally renowned museum.

    I had arranged to interview Ian as Charlotte and I were in London to attend our first proms together.  Ian was kind enough to make time with short notice.

    How long have you been Manager?
    Five years, but been at the museum for 14 years

    What is your biggest achievement?
    It may seem strange, but putting the accessibility toilets and baby changing facility in (located by Exhibition Road).  It was 2004 and the Disability was passed and although we met the guidelines, I wanted to do more.

    What is your proudest moment?
    The Launch of the Darwin Centre in September 2005.  Seeing all the different elements of Natural History Museum come together – visitor services, tours, presenting, etc.

    What is the vision for the future?
    Our focus for the next 2-3 years is to increase visitor focus within our organization.

    How many visitors did you have last year?
    4.2 million and another 120,000 that visiting Tring.

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    August 28th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Attingham Park is a National Trust located in Shropshire and was built for the 1st Lord Berwick in 1785.  I’ve been several time with my family and on school trips and am always amazed at their detail to care for kids of all ages.

    Ben and Charlotte in Front of House

    Attingham is more then just a house as it has a walled garden with activities such as water the plants available, a garden theme play area, in addition to a deer park, family trails, and delicious café.

    We were taken on a mini tour before the house was open.  The first item we were shown was the QR code by the clock tower as you aren’t allowed in the clock tower but could see what it was like when it was working.  Attingham Park is one of the first National trust sites utilizing this new technology.  There are QR codes throughout the house (although signal was a bit of an issue to load the pages, the QR reader was able to save the url for me to reference later).

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    August 22nd, 2011mardixonCulture, International

    From July 27th until August 1th, I ran a simple 8 question survey called Does Social Media work for Cultural Sector.  Why?  Because I was working on a blog post and Tweeted to find out if anyone could point me to any research that would prove, or disprove, whether Social media does indeed work within the Culture sector.  To my surprise, it seemed that this question hadn’t been posed and there certainly didn’t seem to be any research or analysis to answer my question.

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    August 20th, 2011mardixonCulture

    This summer, my family and I travelled to France to for our summer vacation.  Prior to leaving, I tweeted that I was going to Paris and would love to interview museum people.  Via the power of Twitter (and some great friends), I had arranged to not only interview, but also film curators for AskACurator.com.

    Over the course of the week, I was able to see a variety of museums, both to interview and some just to visit.  However, my social media radar was always active.  Prior to attending a museum, I would check to see if they had a Twitter/Facebook/ website.  Did they?  Most, but not all.

    This surprised me.

    France seems to be a country on the cusp of grasping the true value of social media.  Some museums, such as Musee de Cluny (@museecluny) and Musee des arts et metiers (@ArtetMetiers) are prime examples of museums that have empowered themselves via their social media usage.

    How did they do it?  By engaging with not just their target audience but everyone that gets in contact with them.

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    August 17th, 2011mardixonCulture

    If you never been to the Ikon Gallery, you’re missing a real treat.  The building itself is a piece of art that never fails to fascinate.  Originally built in 1878 for an infant school, it has had a few other responsibilities before its current (and hopefully permanent) position as home of the gallery.  The artist journey begins as you walk in and see this very prominent but non-busy sign:

    I met Director and Jonathan Watkins, a busy man who’s passion for Ikon was evident from the start along with Kate Self who is the essentially their Educational Officer (although it’s technically Ikon Youth Programme (IYP)).

    After explaining the many hats and angles this interview was going to take (blog, AskACurator.com, Kids in Museums), I quickly got into the questions as I knew time was precious for both.

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