As we all know, little things and small gesture may make our days more beautiful. Hearing a simple and humble “thank you” sometimes comes as a remedy and a great reward for a hard work. In this article, we will focus on the digital presence of museums and their communication with “digital” audiences.
Unavoidable digital presence
First, I will share some research. According to the Knight Foundation, a half of the US museums don’t have a skilled team for the digital, or everything digital is performed by one single person. Further, their research shows there is still very little support for the digital, as most of the departments don’t know about any digital activities going on in the museum. Finally, that situation is much harder in smaller museums.
According to the NEMO organisation’s research for Europe, executed during the pandemics, many museums started increasing their digital activities. However, most of them chose not to invest in professional advices or long-term strategies.
Long story short, most museums posses very little capabilities to deal with growing challenges of the digital presence.
December: The time for thankfulness, right?
On the other hand, people regularly share their experiences of visiting museums. They do it on social media, on their own blogs, and even through their projects. For instance, Fun Museums has been dedicated to posts about museums since 2015, while this year the work intensified with the Art of Discovery movement. The core of this movement is in promotion of slow, sustainable travels that include quality visits to museums.
See also: Stories of the Sea, Arctic Life, and Passion for collecting from Belgian Universities as examples of the Art of Discovery movement.
I fully understand the struggle museums are facing with the digital, so I decided to dedicate this post to good examples. Since I showcase some heritage interpretation work as a part of my long term goals, I tag a lot of museums on social media, especially on Instagram. Some museums reacted to it with nice gestures such as saying “thank you” or sharing my posts.
For that reason, I made a “bright list” of museums, and I am planning to keep it updated, to add more museums as I discover them.
The List of Museums saying “Thank You”
I decided to focus on the “thank you” because it doesn’t take any time or money to say it. You don’t need to have any digital skills or a dedicated team for that. Creating a shared post or story on Instagram might be a bigger challenge, but a simple “thank you” can’t.
Let’s start. The following list shows museums I mentioned at some point, free of any charge, and they showed they cared. This list will be updated weekly, and as of the latest update I may have not included all the museums I would like to include!
Latest update: 07/12/2020
Vučedol Culture Museum, Vukovar, Croatia
Opened in 2015, this museum showcases one of the Europe’s oldest civilisations. I have quite a personal history with their team, since they invited me personally to visit the museum shortly after they opened. Further, they count with a dedicated and experienced (digital) marketing professional since they opened. As a relatively small museum with a specific topic, they don’t need a big team. Their incredible focus on audience and their visitors reflects also on being able to say “thank you” to people who mention them in their museum experiences.
Betina Museum, Murter, Croatia
I haven’t visited this one yet. However, they post some nice content on social media, so I have a clear idea about their beautiful collection related to historic wooden boats and traditional ship yarding. I shared one of their posts to illustrate another topic I wanted to showcase, and they said “thank you” for that.
Museo Ravenna, Italy
I shared one of their Instagram posts in my stories, with the appropriate tag. I used it to illustrate examples of early Christian art. They shared my story and said “thank you”. This is another museum I haven’t visited at all just yet – I was once in Ravenna a long, long time ago (in 2006 as a high school student) and I visited only the San Vitale church full of mosaics.
Museo Omero, Ancona, Italy
This one has a special place in my heart. I once spent two months living in the city of Ancona and working at a creative area right next to this museum. The museum is a private initiative dedicated to the visually impaired people. Replicas of great ancient and renaissance statues, maquettes of famous buildings, along with some contemporary sculptures make this collection in which every item can be touched. I mentioned them a few times on social media, and they always cared for responding to it.
Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece
Many museums on this list are small local museums with passionate and caring individuals working there. However, I am glad to be able to showcase some bigger institutions here, the ones that likely receive many messages and social media tags. The Benaki Museum is one of the most important Greek museums, and I dare to say one of the most organised museums I know. During these challenging times, they started some innovative initiatives and made their professionals talk to the audience. They also organise a conference named CoMuseum, this year it was online of course, and still very good.
I visited them once last year, and last summer I was there for the second time. Since I showcased some items from their collections in the Art of Discovery, they always cared to respond, share, and so on. They were only not responsive on Twitter, but I didn’t find it a big deal.
Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain
I am happy to mention another really big museum here. Even before the pandemic, they were making regular live videos with guidances through their rich collections. A few days ago, I decided to make a tweet about it. I just made two screenshots from the IG live and shared them as a good example. After tagging the Museo del Prado official Twitter account, I received a “thank you” from them. It is another museum I haven’t visited yet, but I will do it gladly as soon as possible.
Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia
In February 2018, I spent a few relaxed days in Ljubljana. It was a genuine slow travel, as I spent almost an entire winter day appreciating the museum and its views.
Their social media is generally full of fun, as the place is also the stage for many performing arts from music to theatre. They also cared to say “thank you” after I voluntarily shared my personal experiences of visiting the place.
MUMONS – University Museum of Mons, Belgium
After I received a great article about university museum in Belgium from the Fun Museums author Annelies, I made some instastories about them. Out of three museums, MUMONS is the one that shared the stories in which they were tagged, saying “thank you” on the way.
To be continued…
The purpose of this article is to praise a good work done by museums in interacting with their audiences. It all starts with the little things, such as “thank you”.