@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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    October 26th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Recently, I was able to do another whirlwind international tour and something was highlighted once again – people love museums. And people who work in museums love museums.

    So why do you keep working against us?

    The issues are usually very similar:

    • Lack of money
    • Lack of resources
    • Lack of management support
    • Low Morale

    While these issues might possibly always be there, some things you can change to help elevate these issues.

    Lack of money: For argument’s sake, we’ll take money off the table because lets be honest, it’s a common denominator worldwide. If we can sort the other issues, the money issues might actually be less of an issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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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. Get in touch with an architectural design company to learn how you can advertise your business in an effective way.


    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.


    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!  

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    June 24th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    periscopeI’ve been using Periscope before it came out (I was a beta tester back in March).  I have to be honest, I was a bit confused with the concept.  Having not used Meerkat or really care about filming before, I didn’t see the need for live streaming. Why would anyone use it that wasn’t at a conference?

    Then I started to play with it. First around my town, then on my travels and you know what? It’s a game changer. Why? Because although I live-tweet, blog and over-share, this allowed a two-conversation to happen between the viewers and myself in real-time. I am able to Periscope and have a dialogue in a way that is quicker and more efficient than Twitter or blogging. The conversations from Periscope have lead to a few blogs.

    I can’t remember my first live stream from a museum or art gallery but do know the first time I saw a great response was at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and (thanks to free wifi) was able to have a bit of fun with live streaming. I didn’t save the first one but did upload the live stream I did with a conservator fixing art in the middle of the gallery.

    With each periscope I’m learning more. For example, on my first attempt I was really confused how I was suppose to type a response to the questions popping up on the screen. (Answer: You don’t type, you talk – they can hear everything you’re saying! NB This led to one of my tips: don’t swear).

    Please note: Periscope is available for ios and Android now.  Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 22nd, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    First a definition: Museums also including art galleries, national trust, estates, etc. Second a statement:  No one has money.  Funding, worldwide is an issue. 

    thefutureIn the last week I’ve been repeating myself regarding museums, funding, tech, etc. so felt it might be worth a quick post to link to when the discussion is brought up again (probably sooner rather than later … sadly).

    Museums, as a global sector, are incredible at sharing. We all know this – whether it’s curators sharing their knowledge or the digital/tech team sharing their know-how – there are articles after articles of fascinating and brilliant case studies.

    The sector also loves to share their opinion – and for this I’m talking about admission fees but really the topic could be how to run social media, tech equipment that is best or how to display for maximum response. I even said that most of the wow-factor of sharing at a conference has been removed because everyone blogs/talks/shares about it before the conference (however, the ability to talk to the people one-to-one is a main reason to attend so conferences still do have a place!).

    The point: We have to stop assuming we can paint all museums with the same brush. PLEASE.

    Each collection, each mission, each town/city/county/state/country is unique. There is no one solution that will match everyone so lets stop with this pedestal mentality of glorifying one case study or report over another. Lets learn from them, lets pick them a part to rebuild to purpose-fit for another museum but lets stop with this train of thought that because X is doing it it has to be the only way.

    What the public love about museums is their individuality so why are we trying to put a mass-market approach to solutions? Digital and tech might be great for some museums (see Cooper Hewitt and Museo Prado) but not for all (see John Soane Museum). Admission fees might work for some museums (see Met) but not for all (see most nationals in UK).

    We’re a creative industry – lets remember this when striving to make impact with the public. There is an ethos to learning that I’ve always taught my daughter:
    a) use the resources around you.
    b) take what you need to learn and throw the rest back – it’ll still be there should you need it.

    Museums should take the learning from these wonderful case studies but not try to mimic or feel the need to copy. And please, stop comparing. A solution for one does not equate an answer for another.

    Lets celebrate our individuality while growing strong as a sector and lets make 2015 the year of positive Museum stories! 

    PS One last plug about #MuseumSelfie day on January 21 2015.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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    January 2nd, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    googleglassFor the past couple of months, I’ve been asked a lot about Google Glass and where they fit in with the big picture (museums, galleries, teens, kids, innovation, etc).  I’ve been reading up as much as possible but knew the only real way for me to be honest with my response would be to own a pair.  After arranging to receive a pair of Google Glass I started researching things – like what to do when I open the box.

    I will admit that I was a tad intimidated at the thought of having a developers pair of Glass.  Did that mean I would need to program them to turn them on? How complex would it be to work them? What level of skill would be required? Would I have the patience to deal with this learning curve?

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 6th, 2013mardixonCulture, International

    logoIn 2011, I caught the hashtag #museomix on Twitter and immediately wanted to know more.  One little problem – it was on in French, a language I can’t read or write.  But I could tell from the 140 characters that this was something magical I was witnessing.

    In 2012, I attend MuseumNext in Barcelona and heard Samuel Bausson speak about Museomix.  He explained it came out of frustration – that real changes need to be done but it had to be changes made WITH people and museums.

    photo3I was hooked, I knew I wanted to get involved.  I was invited to help on the web team (social media) at Museomix in Lyon, France.  Again, I don’t speak French so this was going to be a challenge – or so I thought.  My job was to report and watch the hashtag for English input.

    What happened in those 3 short days was amazing.  People who met each other on the Friday spent long hours all weekend to build a prototype as a team.  It took a huge leap of faith from everyone involved: team members, coaches, organizer, the museum and more.  This is not just about the prototypes – actually, it ISN’T about the prototypes – it’s about a platform for sharing, engaging and openness to happen in a positive way.

    8714243371_c0f51ebe76_cI knew I had to bring this experience to the UK.  I live in Shropshire and spent a lot of time at Ironbridge Gorge Museums (I have a tendency to call it ‘my’ museum even when talking to staff).  Ironbridge was the perfect choice as it’s home of the industrial revolution and Museomix is about taking things to the next level.

    It was a perfect marriage.

    I then decided to talk to the museum *ahem* and luckily they agreed.  We knew last year when we started this process that it was going to be a long journey.  At the time, IGMT didn’t have wifi (or very good mobile signal) and we had to worry about getting people to the venue as many (not looking directly at Londoners but near enough…) do not like to travel outside cities.

    The museum has embraced the challenges and not only had Wifi installed throughout the location, but they are the first museum on the Global Fab Lab network.  That’s right, a permanent Fab Lab has been installed in Enginuity which will be available to the public, schools and private hire long after Museomix UK leaves.

    A year later and with a lot of support from an amazing Orga team, we are here.

    Museomix UK kicks off on Friday, November 8 with people travelling from all over the UK, France and Russia to join us in remixing Coalbrookdale (Museum of Iron, Enginuity, The Old Furnace and the land) at Ironbridge.  But it’s not just here, Museomix is a Global event happening in 6 locations: 4 in France, 1 in Quebec and us. 

    We will work 8am to 11pm Friday and Saturday with prototypes ready to view and be tested by the public on Sunday from 3pm – 5pm.

    There will be laughter, arguments, tears, ideas, thoughts, dreams, wishes, and cake.

    We have no idea until Friday at lunch what we are up against.  It’s a mixture of excitement and quite frankly, fear.  But I’m not worried.  I know the people who are coming are bringing the most important thing:  an open mind and a will to make a difference.

    What more could we ask for?

    Please follow our journey online:
    Twitter @MuseomixUK [HashTags: #MuseomixUK, #MM_UK, #Museomix]
    Vine and Instagram

    If you would like to join us Sunday for the Open Day, please let us know here.

    I’d like to do a big shout out to my Orga team:
    9955308625_3d26c40ebaFrédérique Santune
    Raphael Chanay
    Mireia Bes
    Will Stanley
    Eric Huang
    Louie Stockwell
    Anne Prognon
    Katie Foster
    Céline Cadieu
    Hélène Herniou
    Paul Hutchinson
    Derek Houghton

    Special Mention to Teresa M & Susan P for volunteering to bring smiles, we’ll need them!

    And of course, the very brave Museum:
    Anna Brennand, CEO
    John Hughes, Museum Project Coordinator MuseomixUK
    Paul Gossage, Press

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