Museums Using Social Media to Boost Engagement

This recent article from the New York Time’s scratches the surface of museums which are engaging in new social media to build new points of entry and continued interaction with visitors.  The article features a smattering of museums across the country from the Brooklyn Museum and the Met to the Indianapolis Museum and SFMOMA.  But the article only scratches the surface of the web content which museums are providing for their patrons.  Most major museums, and many of the smaller museums have their own blogs which endeavor to open the backend of the museum which is usually opaque to the visitor.  For example, recently the Getty blog, Iris, featured a short article co-authored by a member of its education and curatorial staff on the conservation of a bronze statue of Apollo from Pompeii.  Articles such as these allow museum patrons a view behind the curtain through the eyes of the professionals who work with and teach these objects.

Museums also link these blogs to twitter accounts which allow them to advertise programming to larger audiences at a negligible cost.  LACMA’s blog Unframed for example both highlights exhibitions and provides it’s staff with a new platform to share their passion for the art to which they have dedicated their lives.

One piece of data which the author of the article quotes in passing caught my attention and made me think of Google’s Art Project which allows internet users to explore museums from around the world.  The statistic was: “Attendance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2010 was 430,000 visitors, but its Web site had almost one million users who could view the museum’s collections, watch videos and contribute to blogs.”  It is undeniable that the web is changing traditional ways of socializing, banking, communicating, shopping and viewing art.  How much value added does the internet provide to the art viewing experience?  What do museums still have to offer if every individual can view their favorite artwork from museums around the world from the comfort of their home and can even create and share his/her own collection of masterpieces?


About projectpatrimonio

Helena Boyden Lamb, born 1985 in New York, has studied and worked in Politics, Heritage Ethics and Politics, and Opera Singing. Most recently, she is working in Brussels where she started in a European Think Tank and is now the Executive Office of a NGO which facilitates Youth Politics across the EU. She has a Bachelor with Honors from Stanford University, California in Classics: Politics and Heritage and a Masters with Honors from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK in European Identity. She has conducted academic or independent grant-funded research in the UK, France, Italy, Greece, Russia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Albania. She was, previously, an archaeologist and an opera singer. Cynthia Querio is a Museum Educator currently living and working in Los Angeles. She is interested in heritage and identity politics and the role of museum education departments in the trajectory of this debate. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a 9 month graduate internship at the Getty Villa's education department and has continued to work in many museums in Los Angeles including LACMA and the Autry National Center. Her academic background is in the Classics, which was her major at Stanford University and which she continued to pursue with a Masters in the History of Classical Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
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