Just for some ideas,
we have picked out three of our favourite museum blogs which are doing cool
things in the blogosphere:
Powerhouse Museum, based in Sydney Australia, has a daily blog entitled Photo of the Day. Everyday the museum’s team of bloggers upload a photo from the site’s Powerhouse Photo Library along with a post about it. Images come from events, exhibitions and behind the scenes at the museum and are incredibly varied, ranging from photos of the museum’s photography studio, images of the museum’s new acquisitions or of interesting buildings nearby. It’s a great way to be able to talk about all the diverse and fascinating aspects of running a museum which might seem a bit random in a normal blog format. With this focus on behind the scenes activities, it also really opens up the museum to readers, which is exactly what a museum blog should do.
The minute you enter cyberspace and scratch the surface of the Museum Web 2.0 phenomenon, it is clear that one institution is just streets ahead of the rest. Shelley Bernstein, Head of Technology at Brooklyn Museum, has created a warm and inviting log cabin of a community for all the museum’s visitors, admirers and employees. The Brooklyn Museum blog, bloggers@brooklynmuseum, has around fifty authors, all of whom work behind the scenes at the museum and post about exhibitions or events they’re working on. The number of authors is definitely something to consider before starting a blog; too many can sometimes make a blog inconsistent and impersonal but Brooklyn Museum makes it work. All the writers have a profile detailing their speciality and so you can follow one writer, specialising in for example the Museum’s Asian Art collections if that floats your boat, or all the writers to get a great overview of all the museum’s goings-on. Posts are well illustrated and often contain video too. We’re thrilled that Shelley is going to be speaking at Communicating the Museum this summer and imparting some of her knowledge of all things social media and her experience working to build the excellent Brooklyn Museum community.
Art Matters, by the Art Gallery of Ontario, is a blog which makes excellent use of multimedia opportunities presented by platforms such as youtube, flickr and iTunes with regular videos and podcasts of talks with artists or discussions with curators and project managers from the museum. Our favourite thing on Art Matters is their gallery of pictures they have asked visitors to draw in response to art works around the museum (as part of a project called In Your Face Projects). It’s a very effective way to make visitors and readers feel like part of the community and get discussion going about exhibitions and artworks in the gallery.
One thing to add when talking about museum blogs is that they rarely have extensive comments from readers. Looking at a thread on Museum 3.0 about the best museum blogs, there seemed to be a general consensus that museum blogs are often quite specific and so, while they get a lot of page hits and RSS subscriptions, people feel less able to comment on posts. For discussions, most agreed that social networks like Facebook actually work better to create an informal atmosphere where people feel more able to comment.
In spite of this, here at Museum Strategy, we’d like to know, do you have a favourite museum blog? Why does it work? Why doesn’t it work? Feel free to leave us comments/links below.
Image: Behind-the-scenes - Photography Studio by Geoff Friend