Category Archives: Social media

SlideShare: Promoting Teen Night Out Using Social Media

In this 17 slide deck, the Lukens Company explains how they promoted Teen Night Out at the Seattle Art Museum using social media.  Since 2007, the museum has held thirteen Teen Night Outs with over 8,000 attendees.   You’ll find that it’s a well-rounded campaign that carefully defined the target audience and used several measures of success.  If you want to reach teenagers, you’ll want to check this out.

At the press: Interpreting African American History and Culture

Cover Interpreting Af Am History smallMy book, Interpreting African American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites is now at the press and will be available in December from Rowman and Littlefield.  I’ve been assembling it for the past two years and just completed the index, so now it’s firmly in the hands of the publisher.  This book is part of a new “interpreting” series launched by Rowman and Littlefield and the American Association for State and Local History.  Also released this year are books on topics that include slavery, Native American history and culture, LGBT history, and the prohibition era.  If you’d like to order a copy of any of these books at a nice 25 percent discount, use the code 4F14MSTD by December 31, 2014.

Interpreting African American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites is another step in a path being laid by many people for nearly 150 years. Although much has been accomplished at museums and historic sites to enhance and improve the interpretation of African American history and culture, we’ve also learned Continue reading

Video: We Are Museums 2014 (Warsaw, Poland)

This 3:45 video gives a quick overview of We Are Museums, a two-day international conference on innovation and creativity within museums.  Hosted by the National Gallery of Art and the State Ethnographic Museum, it combines workshops, exhibitions, and presentations.  Presenters included Seb Chan of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and Sarah Hromack of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Video: Happy 4th from Philadelphia

In this 1:39 video, Historic Philadelphia features Benjamin Franklin and a dozen living history actors dancing to Pharrel William’s “Happy” on the streets of the City of Brotherly Love. Dozens of ongoing and special events will take place on and around Independence Mall over Independence Week and the summer and this video shows the fun and lively side of its history.  It was produced by Historic Philadelphia, Inc. (@HistoricPhilly), Independence Visitor Center (@PHLVisitorCntr), National Constitution Center (@ConstitutionCtr), Visit Philadelphia (@VisitPhilly), and Independence National Historical Park (@INDEPENDENCENHP). More information is available at   Thanks to Sandy Lloyd for sharing this video.

Are Bloggers Mostly Educators?

Museum bloggers converse over morning coffee at AAM 2014.

Museum bloggers converse over morning coffee at AAM 2014.

Blogging is a new form of communication, often falling somewhere between professional journalism and personal journaling.  There are lots of people who love museums and historic sites, and they’ve spawned lots of blogs devoted exclusively to them (including this one).  To give you a sense of this specialized blogosphere, Jamie Glavic at Museum Minute has conducted more than seventy (70!) interviews with museum bloggers.

Last month at the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting in Seattle, Jamie convened an informal gathering of a dozen museum bloggers to meet and chat about their work over morning coffee.  I wasn’t able to catch everyone’s name, but the conversation included Rowanne Henry of Museum Stories, Chris O’Connor of the Royal BC Museum, Ed Rodley of Thinking About Museums, Jennifer Foley of Runs with Visitors, Scott Tennent at Unframed, Annelisa Stephan at the Getty Museum, and Kellian Adams at Green Door Labs.

I noticed that most of them were educators, not curators, conservators, collections managers, or administrators, which launched a discussion about the circumstances that seem to be creating this social media distinction in the museum field, including:

  • curators and conservators don’t consider blogging as scholarship; it’s not regarded equal to an article or exhibit catalog for measuring job performance or professional development.
  • blogs provide a place where educators can be heard and voice their opinions; curators dominate conversations in museums
  • blogs require a different type of writing; curators use a language couched in academia, which usually isn’t suitable for blogs
  • blogging isn’t a priority for the organization
  • blogging doesn’t work well in the institutional culture of museums; blogging requires some comfort with risk and letting go

What do you think? Does the cultural divide between educators and curators continue online? Are the distinctions around museum blogging accurate and true? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Video: Tom Explores Los Angeles

Tom Carroll explores “places that might change people’s perceptions of Los Angeles” in a series of thirteen short hip videos and demonstrate what is possible to create with just a handful of people.  Carroll studied art at Occidental College and led tours at the Los Angeles State Historic Park and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  In creating these videos, he uses, “a lot of what I learned as a tour guide, speaking loudly and slowly, knowing when you are losing your audience.”  Could you create a short video exploring an historic place in your community? May Help Your Fundraising Efforts

AmazonSmile customer start-up page.

AmazonSmile customer start-up page.

This holiday season, is mixing business with charity in its newest project, AmazonSmile.  By shopping at instead of plain old, 0.5 percent of the value of their purchases will be donated to the customer’s preferred charity (i.e., a $100 purchase becomes a 50 cent donation).  When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations.   What’s even more amazing is that there seems to be no limit to the amount Amazon will give to charity, although as of now auto-renewed subscription purchases and digital products aren’t included.  Donations will be made by the AmazonSmile Foundation, so customers using AmazonSmile will not be able to claim donations as charitable deductions.

Charitable organizations can register for free to receive donations at Continue reading

Video: A Virtual Summer Camp using Google+

Invention meets social media in a summer camp format.  In 2012, MAKE held a Maker Camp on Google+, introducing an online summer camp inspired by the creative and diverse maker culture.  It was a six-week program featuring 30 days of projects and activities for teens 13-18. Every day a different counselor posted how-to instructions and hosted a Hangout, giving campers a chance to ask questions and show off their projects. It was free and open to everyone with a Google+ profile.

How can new technologies transform or expand your programs?  Can Google+ or Hangout help you work with colleagues to complete projects?  Check out what the Henry Ford Museum is doing with Maker Faire Detroit.  Can your summer camps incorporate some ideas from Maker Faire®?

Rethinking the “Do Not Touch” Sign

Museums and historic sites are well known for their “do not touch” signs.  The UK National Trust worked with The Click Design Consultants to change the rules to engage visitors. According to The Click,

The campaign, titled ‘Nature’s Playground’, is designed to entice visitors to explore, enjoy, savour and touch. A series of nine signs were created which, at first glance, look like warnings or instructions not to do something, whereas actually they encourage the opposite.

The physical signs were packaged up and sent out to National Trust properties across the east of England. The properties were then briefed to install the signs in appropriate locations within their grounds and / or estate. The inclusion of a hashtag (#NaturesPlayground), encourages visitors to Continue reading

AAM Annual Meeting: Report to the Field

Last week’s annual meeting of the American Alliance of Museums was held just 30 miles from my house but I wasn’t able to attend due to other commitments.  I missed seeing so many of my friends!  Fortunately, Terri Anderson, a colleague working at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, shared her experiences:

Terri Anderson

Terri Anderson

I had a great time attending the American Alliance of Museums annual conference this week, held in Baltimore, Maryland. AAM put on an excellent conference, full of interesting sessions. To be completely honest, I haven’t said that about an AAM conference in a while. I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting and informative each session was. Also a first for me was being completely blocked from a session. “How We Did It: The Move of the Barnes Collection” was so full, the AAM volunteer had to close the doors and wouldn’t let in any more people even to stand in the back. All the sessions I attended (in the collections management track) were full or over-full—I hope AAM can get arrange for bigger rooms for its collections sessions next time.

A great feature of this year’s conference is that Continue reading