UPDATE: @52Museums is fully booked for 2016 but there is a waiting list and planning 2017 already.
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 »Tags: #52Museums, campaign, Instagram, International, museums, project, social media
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.Tags: communities, community, museumcamp, social media, vienna, viennaartweek
Graveyard of Directors: We are haemorrhaging museum and art directors left, right and center and NO ONE seems to be asking ‘Why?’. It’s not just one or two who have left – to be honest, I’ve lost track of the number which is a red flag in itself. However, it’s also the demographic of these directors who are leaving. This is an international issue.
For me, it’s almost like rats jump ship. It’s a clear sign of something major is about to happen but they never say what.
And it’s not just that they are leaving to retire, most are leaving for other sectors (academia or placement in other cultural venues but not necessarily a museum).
Graveyard of Social/Digital Media Platforms: The other event / trend I’ve noticed is the retirement of many social media/digital platforms in favor of others. I recently spoke at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Innovative Museum Leaders Speaker Series and mentioned that the sector has been burnt with putting all their eggs in one social/digital basket before (web site only, then shifted to one or two social media platform). Now we’ve learned to not look at what is best for us but what is best for the people who will be using it.
Each institution/venue/museum needs to ensure they evaluate their platforms and ensure that they are still right for what their visitors want. AND BE HONEST.
Graveyard of Mission Statements: Ok, that’s a bit strong but really – the sector really needs to re-evalute their mission statements as so many are outdated and are keeping them from progress. If they aren’t careful, they are going to outdate themselves so much they won’t be able to recover.
Our society needs to be entertained. We can look at amusement parks, Netflix, or even airports (as Shelly Bernstein suggests) but whatever is being looked at needs to be achievable and that requires an appropriate Mission statement that everyone in the museum/venue can work with.
What are your thoughts?Tags: digital media, directors, future musuems, mission statement, social media
I started planning this event, well last year, but really in the past 3 months. I still worry no one will take part at first or get bored. Than closer to the event, I get all giddy with excitement like it’s Christmas!
This year is no different.
But here I am, technically the eve before and we have 41 countries and 634 museums signed up. I’ve been interviewed in 6 different languages (Wired.com article). The sign up sheet continues to grow… [by end of play, 721 museums in 43 countries!]
I’m often asked why I do it as I don’t get paid. The stats from LaMagnetica are why:
13,000 DIFFERENT users
That is a HUGE community we have built together. How could I not do it? I’m seriously blown away by those numbers. These numbers represent the thirst from the #AskACurator Community for access to behind the scenes at museums/galleries. The thirst for learning. The passion for our cultural sector. And most importantly, the yearning to share.
Please Note: LaMagnetica will be sharing the report and I”ll update this page when it’s done.Tags: Ask A Curator, AskACurator, Culture, museums, social media, twitter
I have been back from Russia now just over a week. It was an experience that allowed me a real insight into the Russian museum community (albeit primarily on the western side). From running workshops, speaking at a conference, being a guest to many museums, and speaking with numerous people (museum, digital, tech and more) I came away with a solid knowledge of their current cultural position (and quite frankly, a thirst to go back!).
Firstly a little background on this trip. I first encountered Anna Mikhaylova via social media (of course) then in person at ‘Museums on the Web’ in Portland, Oregon. I can’t remember when or how the idea of me going to Russia happened, but soon we (more like Anna) had formulated a detailed plan for 20 days in St Petersburg, Vyborg, Peterhof and Moscow.
My itinerary was hectic and diverse but allowed me to truly see the museum community in a holistic (and hands on) view. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: conferences, Google Glass, International, museums, Russia, social media, tech, workshops
SEE PDF PDF Twitter #MuseumWeek PDF
Now those that know me know this is something I’m a huge advocate of. Anything that stops the stereotyping that makes museums stuffy and visitors feel they aren’t worthy is a good thing!
Twitter has asked museums to sign up and tweet each day using the different hashtag/theme. Some of these are incredibly familiar (#AskaCurator #MuseumSelfie). I was asked if I minded, which is a good question. As a huge supporter of Museums and Twitter, how could I mind? I was a bit worried as the topics chosen are something CultureThemes does on a yearly basis but when I stopped and really thought about it – does it really matter? AskACurator will still happen on September 17th and MuseumSelfie will happen again in January 2015. What is important is to hopefully reach more museums that might not be using Twitter or know how to jump into social media to feel comfortable throughout the week taking part. Also to bring more potential visitors/advocates into the mix. I am really proud that Twitter has seen the potential with the museum sector – Go us!
What and When:
March 24 Day 1 – A day in the life (#DayInTheLife)
March 25 Day 2 – Test your knowledge (#MuseumMastermind)
March 26 Day 3 – Your story (#MuseumMemories)
March 27 Day 4 – Buildings behind the art (#BehindTheArt)
March 28 Day 5 – Ask the expert (#AskTheCurator)
March 29 Day 6 – Museum selﬁes (#MuseumSelﬁes)
March 30 Day 7 – Constraint drives creativity (#GetCreative)
List of Museums in each country
Want to take part and from the UK? Twitter UK Form
Want to take part and from Spain? Twitter Spain Form
Want to take part and from Italy? Twitter Italy Form
Want to take part but not part of the four countries? I created a form here
Tags: #museumweek, March 24-30, social media, twitter
Wow – what an amazing day #MuseumSelfie was!
I’ve been running @culturethemes now for almost 3 years (we’re 3 in March). [A little background on CultureThemes: it was started when there were massive cuts to funding which caused a lot of negativity on social media. This was not helping the sector at all.] The first CultureTheme was #WhyILoveMuseums and went world trending.
Why? Because people love museums! What they don’t like is listening to moaning about funds/money. Who does? Read the rest of this entry »Tags: CultureThemes, MuseumSelfie, social media, tending, Viral
June 2nd, 2013Culture
A while ago, I was commissioned to write an opinion piece discussing the use of mobile technology and social media in the museum environment and how, if implemented correctly can develop audiences of all ages by Ian Clappison. It was an extremely time senstive piece and I didn’t fully commit to getting it done which was a good thing, as 3 months later – ta da!
Elephant in the Room – is it rude to use a smartphone when at an art gallery or museum?
My answer: No.
Smartphones are the best invention ever. Ok, maybe a bit of a strong statement but it has transformed the way so many of us live and work. They have also changed the way we interact with the museum environment.
And that’s a good thing!Tags: museums, smartphones, social media
I’m often asked why / how sectors (cultural and business) should use social media and this snowy weather has been a great example. Since the snow started in the UK this week, I’ve witness some prime customer service that proved another value for social media (for those still unsure). Tweets and Facebook updates went beyond the collection and that was absolutely brilliant. It showed a pulse behind the walls – it showed the humanist side that is oh so important with *social* media.
The following are just a few examples that I’ve seen.
Delayed opening and Closure information. Like many schools, museums were playing that ‘Do we stay open or do we close’ game that they recognized was inconvenient for those wanting to visit. Being completely honest and transparent with the updates lessen the blow for those that were planning on visiting but couldn’t. Why? Because as annoying as it was, the updates explained the reason behind the decision.
Museum / Gallery had to close? Not a problem as many shared activities on the website to keep kids / family occupied. Apps and games were big suggestions but seen a few recommendations of books and other websites.
Transportation information (including bus routes) were being shared so even if the venue was staying open, you knew what public transportation was running (or not running as the case may be).
Sharing of local information – not just museum related. Lots of local independent businesses were trying to stay open and I caught a few tweets that mentioned the venue was closing but to get a nice slice of cake at the local bakery, etc.
Sharing Snowman pictures – ok, so yes yes everyone was sharing snowman pictures. But a few clever people did non-traditional snowmen that were brilliant. It didn’t have anything to do with the museum or art gallery but it fell under the ‘creative’ heading and it was refreshing to see the venues taking part in the fun of the moment.
Recommendations of checking on neighbours and homeless. This wasn’t just museums doing this but it was nice to see museums and cultural venues reminding their followers.
As it’s just the start of the ‘winter season’ I’m sure we’ll have many more snow/ice days to contend with.
If you were one of the museums who tweeted one of the above – THANK YOU! If you weren’t, maybe next time?
These are thoughts from different conversations I have had on social media.
Outreach to the community.
Bring the community into the museum instead of waiting for them to come to you. Many community groups such as ones that work with elders, community volunteers, disabled, etc, are looking for different projects but might not feel cultural venues fit into their program or even know they are an option. Think beyond education and interpretation.
Do NOT forget the Teens/Young People.
As many people may or may not know, we are creating Teens in Museums with founding members Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum Teen Summit, Smithsonian Ed Lab & Museum of London Youth Panel to help provide a portal for international venues to share both best practice and examples of projects that might not have worked but might work for someone else. Trying and Sharing is so important.
Stop running museums as a business.
Ok, they need to be run as a business but do we the visitors need to know that? We don’t want to constantly be reminded that money is a forefront thought. Transparency is brilliant, to a point. A good example of how to be transparent: Natural History Museum in London periodically shares visitor numbers via Twitter, but doesn’t follow up with running cost.
Think outside the box
or as Adrian Russell suggested, CRUSH the box completely. In October I had the honor of seeing how opening the doors and trusting people could make a huge difference when I attended MuseoMix. Giving up a bit of control and allowing outsiders access to collections WILL provide a huge return. Museums need to think differently in order for meaningful changes to happen.
Museums and Art Galleries do not need to be overwhelming.
Think of them as a shopping mall – you only take away what you need but it’s nice to know where other items are should you need them. I’ve always had the philosophy that exposure was the key. Learn one thing from every visit – not everything, just one thing. I don’t even care if it is where the bathrooms are located or if the cafe sells cake.
Don’t feel you have to look at the art/artefacts
Just getting use to the space and seeing it’s not as intimidating as you might assume is time well spent.
How long should you look at a picture or artefact?
It doesn’t matter! If you don’t like it or it doesn’t grab your attention, move along. No one will snicker or roll their eyes or *tsk * behind your back.
Use Front of House for questions
Seriously, those people that stand/sit in the corner are there to answer questions – not just to tell you photos aren’t allowed. And they LOVE being asked questions.
Both venues and visitors need to use it more for conversation and less for marketing.
Social media is not to be used as a threat when one little thing doesn’t go your way. You can not threaten to use social media just because one employee didn’t respond quick enough, or the que was too long in the loo.
STOP using social media to SELL. Be social! Tell us why we should visit but interact with us when we’re there. Be the eyes and ears for what we don’t see – go behind the scenes. Ask us what we’d like to see. Ask us if we like cake, just talk TO us instead of AT us.
I’m sure there are other items not addressed here but these have been topics I’ve noticed in the last few weeks. What would you add? What do you dis/agree with?