@MarDixon Passionate about culture. Champion for the next generation of Cultural visitors. Defender of Libraries. Digital, Wearable Tech Enthusiast. Sharing knowledge. Troublemaker and/or advocate, depending on what you need.
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    April 13th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Lately I noticed something on social media that I didn’t really like seeing.  I had hoped I was wrong but decided to ask others their thoughts:

     

    I felt I should share a few of the responses here.  What is important to remember is I was not talking about all museums or in one area.  It seems to be an international issue and I’m pretty sure it’s not because the social media managers like this either!  Maybe management feels social media managers have everything scheduled so can do 25 other things that really aren’t under their remit.  Social media managers rock and we shouldn’t at all blame them – most I spoke to privately hate it as much as we do!

    However, brands (and museums are a brand) do sometimes forget that numbers aren’t the answer – loyalty also plays a role and can’t always be quantified. Does that mean it doesn’t matter?  Of course not!  And does it mean that museums, especially larger, more popular museums should respond to every one who tags them?  Of course not.  But it does mean they need to at least be shown to make an effort – even just once a day to engage with visitors and non-visitors.  It doesn’t hurt to ask someone who tags you how they are doing….

    I also asked on Facebook and LinkedIn and the responses were an eye opener. What are your thoughts? What can be done to make social media more social and get us back to having conversations instead on constant marketing and pr jammed down our throats?

    And for clarification, I need to add that this is the same on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – so it’s not a platform issue.

    LinkedIn

    Mät King
    It’s a common problem with social media. People and companies tend to spend more time trying to engage with celebrities/bigger brands/more popular museums etc than actually engaging with those who follow or engage with them. This hierarchy is a very odd consequence of class structure/knowing your place and a general insecurity common to many who have been part of an organised education system. It’s very similar to how people will listen to those with no qualifications or , indeed, abilities in a subject because they are famous or are born with a title.

    Facebook

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!  

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    March 27th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    It’s something we’re all too used to – funding cuts & threats in the culture sector.  Whether it’s museums, libraries, art galleries or theatres (and everything in between), culture seems to have been the easy hit for most of the people with the purse strings.

    It’s been happening globally for more years than necessary and recently the new American administration has threaten NEA, PBS and other vital funding streams many of the museums and art galleries in the states rely on to survive. [NB See #ThankyouIMLS #StandUpForMuseums #SaveTheNEA #SaveTheNEH and #ThankyouNEH]

    As many may or may not know @CultureThemes was created purely out of the funding cuts that happened in the UK.  While it was great for many museums (and social media managers) to discuss what this meant, it was vital that the conversations were open for all (eg young people and other ‘groups’ that are hard to reach, etc).  The first hashtag with CultureThemes was ‘WhyILoveMuseums’ and went world trending – why?  Because people do love museums and art galleries but we need to ASK THEM every once in awhile WHY.  This goes for staff also!

    Recently I decided to do the same thing in a subtle way.  (Any sadly the day I asked it my phone broke so apologies for the delay in getting this shared).

    For the Twitter & Instagram responses I was able to do a Storify which you can find at the bottom of this article or link is here.  For those that prefer infographics, there’s a free site for that …

    The over-arching ideas is for museums to share stories from past, present and the future.  Being there for the next generation to learn from is also highlighted.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 25th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    This is a guest post from Fabio Viola.  

    Sometimes dreams come true. For a guy grew up in the ’80s with a game pad in his hands and history in his mind, the co-presence in the same space of astonishing Farnese’s collection statues and displays showing a videogame has been a “connecting the dots” moment.

    Yesterday the Archeological Museum of Naples showcased “Father and Son”, a coming soon videogame that set a first time, in Italy and worldwide, of a museum acting as a pure game publisher.  Since the’90s, cultural institutions has experienced videogames mainly as an educational platform with the aim to spread the message among a young audience (k6 target).  With Videogames entered in the adulthood and videogamers almost equally split among men and women  aged 35 years old, I strongly believe it is the right time to connect this young art form with the “established” cultural forms creating an intangible thread between on-site and online experience. A useful tool to bring the museum outside the museum and shift from the “traditional “storytelling to what I call storydoing.

    “This game helps us to achieve one of the museum’s new Strategic Plan objectives activating a new way to connect with the audiences. From anywhere around the world, you can interact with our Institute and the city of Naples. We want to be perceived in the world as an innovative hub, a place where the cultural vision is pursued without barriers”, says museum’s director Paolo Giulierini

    Father and Son is a 2D side scrolling narrative game that explores the feelings of love, dreams, fear and the passing of time through the story of an archaeologist and the son he never knew. Throughout the game, the main character crosses the lives of people from different historical eras: Ancient Rome, Egypt and Bourbon Naples. What begins as a personal experience, becomes a universal and timeless story where the present and the past are a set of meaningful choices. Players will assume the role of Michael: after receiving a letter from his archaeologist father he never knew, the protagonist goes to MANN to find out more. From here a journey through the ages begins, from ancient Rome to Egypt, passing through the Bourbon age and coming up to the Naples of today. The player will thus be able to explore the streets of Naples, along the halls of the museum and interact with the stories through the ages.

    Ludovico Solima, associate professor of Management of Cultural Organizations, Second University of Naples: 

    “With ‘Father and Son’ the museum aims to reach and engage new worldwide audiences in an unexplored way.  We’ll evaluate carefully the qualitative and quantitative results of this first time approach to the gaming”.

    In Father and Son, each player’s choice will affect the story and lead to different endings. Michael will interact with different characters and will have to make important decisions that can influence the entire narrative. The aim is to fill in gaps not only about his father’s life, but also the characters he meets along the way. And only at the end, will Michael be able to rediscover himself, thanks to meetings with characters from the past and present.

    All this would not be possibile without TuoMuseo, a no profit organization active in the intersection between cultural heritage and videogames/gamification made up of a team with years of experience in the industry: Fabio Viola (Electronic Arts Mobile, Vivendi Games Mobile,), Sean Wenham (Ubisoft, Sony), Alessandro Salvati, Arkadiusz Reikowski, Salvatore Savino, Vitalba Morelli, Massimiliano Elia, Fabio Sarracino.


    The free game will be downloadable on mobile devices, via App Store and Google Play, with furthers platform under evaluation during the 2017.

    Thanks again Mar Dixon for your hospitality and for your vision of a museum as a “wonderful playground”.

    Follow the game on the official website or feel free to reach us out on Facebook or Twitter or info[at]tuomuseo.it.

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    December 10th, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    First, a big thank you to everyone who took part, followed, liked, and got involved with @52Museums on Instagram and Twitter in 2016.  It grew bigger than anyone could have expected.  The evaluation will be shared (once there has been time to process it!)

    You can find more information about what it is and how it works here.

    The 2017 schedule (and yes this is draft as changes throughout the year does happen):

    Please note: if you would like to be on the waiting list, please sign up here.

     

    DateMuseum NameCountryInstagramMuseum NameCountryInstagram
    Jan 2-8Crow Collection of Asian ArtUSA@crowcollection
    Jan 9-15V&A Museum of ChildhoodUKmuseumchildhoodPretend City Children's MuseumUSA@pretendcity
    Jan 16-22Canada's Sports Hall of FameCanadaCansportshall
    Jan 23-29Royal Museums of Fine Arts of BelgiumBelgiumfineartsbelgiumVejen Art MuseumDenmarkVejenkunstmuseum
    Jan 30-Feb 5Des Moines Art CenterUSA@desmoinesartcenter
    Feb 6-12transmedialeGermany@transmediale
    Feb 13-19Westminster Abbey LondonUK@westminsterabbeylondon
    Feb 20-26MAK ViennaAustriamak_viennaClark Art InstituteUSAclarkart
    Feb 27-Mar 5Kalamazoo Valley MuseumUSAkalamazoomuseumMuseum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)USA@molaaart
    Mar 6-Mar 12Museum at FITUSAmuseumatfit
    Mar13-19Women in ArtsUSAwomeninthearts
    Mar 20-26National Museum of American Jewish HistoryUSA@AmericanJewishMuseumHolcaust Museum HoustonUSA@HMHou
    Mar 27-Apr 2Bendigo Art GalleryAustraliabendigoartgalleryMigration MuseumAustraliamigration_museum
    Apr 3-9Lee Kong Chian Natural History MuseumSingapore@lkcnhm
    Apr 10-16The National Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum)Netherlandshetscheepvaartmuseumsubmarine force libary & museumUSAnautilusships_store
    Apr 17-23Casa BatllóBarcelonacasabatlloMusei di Fermo (Art + archaeology)Italy@museifermo
    Apr 24-30The Postal MuseumUKthepostalmuseumColorado Springs Pioneers MuseumUSA@cspioneersmuseum
    May 1-7Newark MuseumUSAnewarkmuseumMcMaster Museum of ArtCanadamacmuseum
    May 8-14Skagens MuseumDenmarkskagensmuseumAnchers HusDenmarkanchershus
    May 15-21Science MuseumUKsciencemuseum
    May 22-28JFK Presidential Library & Museum (this is the week leading up to the JFK Centennial)USAJfklibraryGeorge Eastman MuseumUSAEastmanMuseum
    May 29-Jun4The Davis Museum at Wellesley CollegeUSA@thedavismuseumMildred Lane Kemper Art Museum @ WUStLUSAkemperartmuseum
    Jun 5-11National Gallery of CanadaCanada@ngc_mbac
    Jun 12-18Museum Tinguely BaselSwitzerlandmuseumtinguely
    Jun 19-25Museu de Arte Sacra de São PauloBrasil@museuartesacra
    Jun 26-Jul 2The Foundling MuseumUKfoundlingmuseum
    Jul 3-9James A. Michener Art MuseumUSA@MichenerArtGlanmore National Historic SiteUSA@GlanmoreNHS
    Jul 10-16The Heckscher Museum of ArtUSA@heckschermuseumDordtYart-contemporary artNetherlandsDordtYart
    Jul 17-23Pera MuseumTurkey@peramuzesiDenver Art MuseumUSA@denverartmuseum
    Jul 24-30Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow MOCAKPoland@mocak_krakow
    Jul 31 - Aug 6The Rockwell Museum, A Smithsonian AffiliateUSARockwellMuseumBirmingham Museum & Art GalleryUKbirmingham_mag
    Aug 7-13Chilliwack Museum and ArchivesCanada@chwkmuseumThe Buffalo History MuseumUSA@buffalohistorymuseum
    Aug 14-20Thomas Jefferson's MonticelloUSA@TJMonticelloDumbarton HouseUSA@DumbartonHouse
    Aug 21-27Sharjah Museums DepartmentUnited Arab Emirates@sharjahmuseums
    Aug 28-Sep 3Atlanta History CenterUSA@AtlantaHistoryCenter
    Sep 4-10The Museum of The Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot,Israelbeithatfutsot
    Sep 11-17The National GalleryUK@national_gallery
    Sep 18-24Pasadena Museum of California ArtUSApmcaonlineCraft & Folk Art MuseumUSA@cafam
    Sep 25-Oct 1Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona (Catalonia) (contact with Cristina: comunicacioweb@bcn.cat)CatalonamuseucienciesChicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature MuseumUSA@naturemuseum
    Oct 2-8Cantor Arts CenterUSA@cantorarts
    Oct 9-15Museion Bozen/BolzanoItalymuseion_bzFreer|Sackler, Smithsonian's museum of Asian art (reopening on October 14)USAfreersackler
    Oct 16-22Houston Center for Contemporary CraftUSA@CraftHoustonUnited by Hand (https://www.crafthouston.org/exhibition/unitedbyhand/) and Future Tradition (https://www.crafthouston.org/exhibition/melissacody/)USA
    Oct 23-29National Museum of Civil War MedicineUSA@civilwarmedClara Barton Missing Soliders OfficeUSA
    Oct 30 -Nov 5Museo JumexMexicoMuseoJumexCONTEMPORARY ART
    Nov 6-12National Museum of the Marine CorpsUSAUSMCMuseumThe U.S. Dept of Defense Museums Nat. Museum of the U.S. Navy & Nat. Museum Health & Medicine would like to share the week with NMMC
    Nov 13-19Gatchina Palace and Estate Museum
    (or Getty Museum USA)
    Russiagatchinapalace_museum
    Nov 20-26Jewish Museum FrankfurtGermanyjuedischesmuseumffmPOLIN Museum of the History of Polish JewsPoland@polinmuseum
    Nov 27-Dec 3Craigleith Heritage DepotCanada@craigleithdepotOshawa MuseumCanada@oshawamuseum
    Dec 4-10The Corning Museum of GlassUSAcorningmuseumHerbert F. Johnson Museum of ArtUSA@hfjmuseum
    Dec 11-17Waterloo Region MuseumCanada@WRegionMuseumColchester MuseumsUK@colchestermuseums
    Dec 18-24Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer KunstGermanysmaek_muc
    Dec 25-31National Puppetry ArchiveUK

     

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    July 21st, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    First, thank you to everyone who took part in #QueerMuseum on July 20th. It’s a topic that has been on my radar for a while and when asked to run it (by the lovely folks at @QueeringMuseum – follow them!) I felt now was the right time. Why? Well since starting CultureThemes, the world has progress in so many ways.

    My first time with a related exhibition was back in 2011 at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with Matt Smith’s QueerMuseum exhibition. I admit, I didn’t know what it was about at first, I just remember Lucifer in green carnations and the WOW factor it had. Then I found out more and was so impressed with how Matt put on a Queer exhibition by selecting items in the collection that have always been on display.

    Last month was Gay Pride so July seemed the perfect time to run #QueerMuseum. Leeds had just ran a LGBT exhibition, BMAG has been a supporter and other museums had run LGBT exhibitions in the past so knew there’d be content.

    As always, I tried to leave interpretation to the sharer:

    Pride 2016 saw many museums take place (especially in London where the Museums Association (MA) team joined a host of other museum, archive and heritage professions to march at the London Pride parade)

    The idea, as ever, is open.

    • Have you had a LGBTQ+ exhibition or talk?
    • Do you feel there is something in your collection you feel could be #QueerMuseum related?
    • Are you part of a group is part of LGBTQ+ that wants to do more with museums and art galleries?
    • Or maybe you take Matt Smith’s approach and find ideas in a collection and explain why it looks like it could be in a #QueerMuseum exhibition.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 25th, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    IMG_9355MuseumNext was held in Dublin 18-20 of April. A few of us decided to make the most of our first time in Dublin and arrived on the Saturday to start exploring early. We weren’t the only ones!

    Highly recommend Guinness Storehouse tour which is more of an experience through history.  But lets get to MuseumNext. Monday April 18th we all registered. This is the best time for me as I get to see many MuseumNext friends I haven’t seen for a year. I signed up to join a tour but missed it and instead went to:

    A Spirited History at National Gallery of Ireland which had representatives from Guinness, Jamison company and another archivist. Having visited Guinness Storehouse it was fascinating to see the balance of teaching the story through the archive and providing an experience for the general public (20% of people who come to Guinness Storehouse have never tried it), the point was they have a brand name people know and recognize and through the Storehouse have to share the story and not let those people down who come for another reason (adverts etc).

    IMG_9295In the evening, Mark Macleod and I hosted the Networking for First Timers at the Little Museum of Dublin. The venue was perfect and it was great that non-first timers knew they were more than welcomed to attend.

    Afterwards we all went over to the Irish Museum of Modern Art for tours and wonderful conversations. Read the rest of this entry »

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    March 13th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Cultural Tourism WorkshopThe second London Cultural Tourism workshop took place March 7th at City Hall in London. I was asked to facilitate the day by a great team including Creative Tourist and Mike Clewley from Greater London Authority office. The original idea was a traditional type of day – speakers, delegates listening and time for Q&A. However, the more we talked it was clear this wasn’t the right framework.

    The day needed to be a hybrid of speakers and time for delegates to speak – not just ask questions. The format was an awesome Keynote from You Me Bum Bum Train (whose name I spent ages trying to say without laughing) followed by a 4 person panel with each speaker speaking for 2-minutes (and yes, I did time it and glare if they went over) then breakout sessions that were run as an unconference.

    A LOT was going on but I’m a firm believer in creativity comes in all paces.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 18th, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 14.28.33[EDIT TO UPDATE FOR 2016]

    This post has been re-purposed from another one created in 2014

    #MuseumSelfie day is on January 20, 2015
    Twitter: @MuseumsSelfie Day
    Instagram: MuseumSelfieDay
    Hashtag #MuseumSelfie
    See CultureThemes write up: It’s back! #MuseumSelfie Day on January 20th @MuseumSelfieDay official account

     Objective:  A day to share selfies either in museums or around museums.  These can be on the day or ones from previous visits.  This is a FUN DAY to encourage people to visit museums and participate a bit with art or collections.  

    On January 20, CultureThemes is running #Museumselfie.  I’ve been asked what it is all about so thought I’d explain the background a bit (borrowed from previous post in 2014/15):

    I’m a Cultural Snatcher – I can’t help it!  I take after my mom who is never without a camera (remember Kodak Disc?  I do.).  When I visit and explore a museum, I love sharing what I’m seeing.  While I’m not a huge fan of taking pictures of myself, I can see why people like a good old selfie.

    CultureThemes is a monthly hashtag I help create on Twitter. The idea behind CultureThemes is to have a positive event once a month on Twitter to highlight the fun and ‘unstuffiness’ of museums/culture.  Previous tags included: #WhyILoveMuseums, #MusSocks, #MusMovember, #AskACurator day and more.  We’re also behind @52Museums which you should check out if you haven’t heard about it.

    The idea is simple, people around the world have been asked to take selfies at museums for the past month and they will share on Twitter/Instagram using #MuseumSelfie on January 20th.  The pictures could be current or from previous trips. Tag the museum if you remember!

    So if you’re visiting a museum this weekend, make sure you take a #MuseumSelfie and share with @CultureThemes this Wednesday!

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    December 20th, 2015mardixonCulture, International

    UPDATE: @52Museums is fully booked for 2016 but there is a waiting list and planning 2017 already.   Also, if you’re a museum on Instagram, please add yourself to the Museums on Instagram List.

    52Museums-8

    A few weeks ago I was on Instagram and noticed how my friend Chris Webb’s project 52Quilters was still going strong and growing. The object is simple: once a week someone takes over the Instagram, Twitter and Blog account and shares their experience on being a quilter.

    I went to sleep and woke up at 5am with one of those moments – this could work for museums. By 9am @52Museums was happening. Well I say happening, the accounts were created and a Google Form for sign up was made. There has been a few mistakes made along the way (like I should have created a form that only allowed one week to be chosen or any week as it turned into a logistic nightmare) but thankfully, museums are brilliant at adapting to changes (no seriously!!).

    The final schedule still isn’t final as over 80 museums have signed up. Museums are collaborating with other museums either via similar collections, cities or a fun challenge.

    This project is all about museum(s) sharing anything they want for the week on Instagram. Every museum that signed up is going to help engage with the account for the year – so local museums will get the same support as the nationals.

    Feel free to get involved, either with questions, likes, favorites or discussions. Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 8th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 19.20.19As many know, I was asked to be Artists-in-residence at MuseumQuartiers thanks to the invite from eSel. While I had to do a few conferences in Budapest, Spain, etc, I managed to have a very good time ­­learning, explore and meeting people in Vienna.

    ESEL – do tremendous work promoting culture not just in MuseumQuartiers where they are based but for Vienna. If you’re not following them already – do it now!

    I talked to many directors, PR/Marketing and social media museum people to try to encourage them to try to get a dialog going once a month (like DrinksThing). The importance of meeting at a café and pub was stressed but they’ll have to determine what works best for them.

    The other concept was for them to get on social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to allow the international tourist a platform to be able to share (many only have Facebook).

    I’ve addressed other questions on this MuseumQuartiers Blog with Margit Moer

    Read the rest of this entry »

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