Outreach Through Media [New]


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The mid-west version of my presentation for the Connecting to Collections - Raising the Bar workshops organized by Heritage Preservation. The talk focused on how museums, libraries, and archives can use social media to highlight their collections care activities.

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  • Perhaps you’ll find it ironic that I’ve been asked to talk to you about outreach via new media given that I work for a museum, aguably one of the largest in the state of Vermont, that is full of technological challenges.
  • Shelburne Museum is housed in about 60 buildings on 45 acres. 39 of those buildings, including a steamboat, are where the collections - about 150,000 artifacts are displayed.

    Our full time staff of 60 includes 1 IT manager, 1 pr manager, and two staff conservators. The museum is split in two - the public side and the administrative side- by route 7, the major north-south thoroughfare in the state.
    Like many rural states, Vemont’s technological infrastructure isn’t exactly state of the art. Until about two years ago, there was nothing but dial up internet access on the exhibition side of the museum. Our broad band isn’t all that broad, in fact, you could call it kind of narrow. It used to be that one person watching an online video would visibly slow the system. Its a little better but our PR manager gives us heads up when she emails out press releases. You can still work on your computer, but you might be more productive doing something else.
  • I started using social media, specifically the photo sharing site, Flickr, because it allowed me to get around some of these infrastructure challenges to send out high quality images, but along the way I was asked to start to speak in the behalf of my institution not only on Flickr but also on Twitter. I’m going to share some of what seems to work for us and some projects that inspire me.  I hope you’ll come away from this presentation with some thoughts about how you can leverage social media to bring awareness to your collections and the need for their care.
  • While sites like Flickr and YouTube might not seem terribly social, participants can subscribe to feeds and converse about pictures and videos.
  • Both YouTube and Flickr are places where your materials can be discovered by search engines, and your institution can slowly develop a group of contacts who are interested in you and your collections.
  • Twitter provides a much more immediate release of information. It really is a hybrid platform since messages can be exchanged either through the internet or by text message on your phone.
  • And Facebook is perhaps the most well-known.
  • These four networks are perhaps the most heavily populated and they’ve all grown to work with each other - there is functionality within Flickr and YouTube that allow you to post directly from those sites to Twitter and Facebook. Similarly, there are applications that act as bridges and allow you to post simultaneously to Facebook and Twitter.  All this makes it very easy to share your message with various audiences.
  • So who’s using these sites to send their message about collections care?
  • Libraries perhaps are the most advanced of all of us when it comes to using social media - I love this compact storage system at the American Alpine Club made of kennel fencing with tennis ball spacers.
  • Some archives share their collections in these spaces
  • Big museums often have the staff to produce polished content and collections databases on the web that enable them to share their collections with us.
  • But smaller museums also are letting us know what good work they do too.
  • Before I started to use social media on behalf of Shelburne Museum I had to get permission. To get permission I needed a plan...
  • One aspect of this plan was to identify the potential audience -
  • The Pew Internet and American Life Project tells us that online social networks are heavily used by adults under the age of 30 - generally speaking that’s a different group of people than what typically visits Shelburne Museum - I don’t know where your demographics lie - but it is the target range for potential interns not what the surveys tell us our typical visitor is.
  • How are they accessing the internet - the Pew Internet and American Life Project tells us that about a third of adults go online using their cell phones.

  • As an aside, that’s interesting when you think of where they might be when they’re accessing information. They could be right in the neighborhood if not in your museum when they’re on the internet! So in addition to the networks I’ve mentioned I’d like to consider the possibilities offered by two others that integrate the potential of the global positioning units in many smart phones with social networks. I personally haven’t found a use for these -yet - but there are collections-related projects are starting to use them.
  • Gowalla lets users post images of places and let friends know where they are through Facebook and Twitter, if the user chooses.
  • In addition to considering who you’re trying to reach, take time to consider what you will and won’t talk about.
  • Some instititions, like the Indianapolis Museum of Art, write these out for all to see, others don’t - leaving it up to a general code of conduct.
  • I started collecting social media guidelines as well as articles about guidelines, and I’ve put them in a website, a wiki, and if this is somethign you’d like to look at further, there’s a hard copy of the appropriate pages in your binder to give you an idea of what’s there, but go to the site to take advantage of the hyperlinks.
  • So here’s the strategy statement that I presented to the PR manager, the IT manager, the director of education and my supervisor when I wanted to use Flickr to distribute information to donors and potential interns about our adopt a carousel animal program. Nothing very grand - essentially a who what why - but it helped me get the buy in I needed to move forward with the project.
  • The other thing that I did to help me get buy-in from the administration was to work out the how. I practiced using Flickr in my own name so they could envision what the project might look like.
  • Other people do this too. Let me introduce you to Wikipedia Saves Public Art. This project, spear headed by an art historian Jennifer Mikulay and a conservator Richard McCoy, are working to bring together Heritage Preservation’s Save Outdoor Sculpture with the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The thinking is that if people know a bit more about the works of public art that surround them they’ll care for it more, and arguably Wikipedia is one of the most visited sites when people search for information. So, with the help of graduate students from University of Indiana/Purdue University, they documented, geo-located, and photographed sculptures on campus and put them into Wikipedia. By geo locating them these articles would then be linked into GoogleMaps, and could then be easilly found if somebody was looking at a map on the internet. But they needed an easy way to geo locate these sculptures accurately - so after using a standard gps,
  • they began using Gowalla.
  • A couple of things about Gowalla - not only can you add a picture of the place that you’re locating, you can also create trips which link places together - enabling users to create tours.
  • Here’s one of Richard’s first tours - he made it in his own name
  • and he tells me he’ll create others using the Wikipedia Saves Public Art identity in the future.
  • Given that most of my day needs to be spent doing benchwork, I tend to gravitate towards projects where I can make use of what I already produce.
  • Since I work on decorative arts, my documentation standard operating photographic procedure is generally just still images, but video is increasingly being adopted, particularly by conservators working on contemporary art.
  • Video is something that I tended to avoid, mostly because I find editing pretty time consuming - but Leslie Wright, our PR manager at Shelburne Museum, has created what I think is a really workable approach.
  • She began making short videos for the museum using a Flip camera - here it is - it costs under $200, makes High Definition video and exports material directly to YouTube from your computer with software included in the camera. Short videos made with the Flip were her sandbox.
  • Once she had her proof of concept, she approached a local open access channel - actually they had approached her - to help us out. They lend her high end cameras and give her time and assistance in their studio to edit video. In return the museum provides them with content that they can air on their television station.
  • Another strategy you might consider-
  • Voices for the Lake is an IMLS funded project out of the Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington Vermont. They are aiming to encourage good stewardship of Lake Champlain by getting people to talk about what’s important to them about it.  They used YouTube’s quick capture feature to allow visitors to the museum to make short videos to tell their stories uploaded to their YouTube channel.
  • The Mattress Factory had used this process to ask their visitors to confess why they loved that museum,
  • and the Brooklyn Museum was the first to use quick capture on MacBooks in their Black List Project exhibition to allow visitors to talk about their experiences and reactions to the show.
  • Another thing to think about when developing  a plan is to consider how you’ll  assess success and failures.
  • Voices for the Lake was certainly getting videos from visitors, but they didn’t quite have the content they wanted. Bridget Butler, the project coordinator, also went to libraries in communities all over the state trying to collect stories using the quick capture technology. What she found was that people spoke more easily to the Flip camera than they did to the computer, and that not every body was comforatble on video. So she’s changed up the plan.
    About three weeks ago, Voices launched an website that allows visitors to upload and geolocate pictures, videos, stories, and links, allowing the public to tell stories in whatever medium they find comfortable. Bridget is pushing content from this site out to a Voices of the Lake channel on YouTube and she’s teaching storytelling workshops in libraries to teach the public how to make simple videos and how to use the site.
  • Comments help me assess how I’m doing.
  • As do statistics and demographics supplied by some of the sites. At the urging of my interns I created a fan page for the Shelburne Museum’s Dentzel Carousel. I think its interesting that the demographic skews older than that of Shelburne Museum’s fan page, and generally older than what’s expected of Facebook. Its not just potential interns and former interns who are interested and on Facebook.
  • So what’s the Return on Investment?
  • Bletchley Park has a great story - a 26 acre historical site, it was home to Great Britain’s top secret code breaking hub during World War II. Now its run by a staff that’s 70% volunteer and gets half of its funding from the gate and the other half from rental. A few years ago a visitor, Dr. Sue Black, noting the poor conditions of the grounds and offered her assistance. Together with the the staff of Bletchley Park, Dr. Black started to use social media to bring attention to the site. One of the things they did was to arrange monthly“Tweet ups” where bloggers and Tweeters were admitted to the grounds free of charge if they’d talk about their visit on the internet to generate a buzz. They also invited their visitors to submit their photos to a Flickr Group. Using Twitter, Dr, Black even got the attention of the comedian Stephen Fry one night when, on Twitter, he announced he was stuck in an elevator. Stephen Fry and his large Twitter following helped spread Bletchley Park’s message of urgent need.
  • Perhaps one of the reasons for their success is we’re talking about a site that appeals to tech geeks - its Great Britain’s World War II code breaking site and, in part, the collection consists of working computer prototypes. Yes, its tech geeks talking to tech geeks in a tech medium - but their ability to rally a group around their cause bears consideration.

  • My own success in rallying others around our cause admittedly is pretty modest. I’m proud that the administrator of the Shelburne Vermont group on Flickr asked if they could include a picture of one of the conservation summer interns at work in their pool. I posted the picture, they invited it in, I added it to the group, now collections care belongs to Shelburne Vermont not just Sheburne Museum.
  • I find that the social media community is generous and willing to help spread your news. Here’s Wikipedia Saves Public Art highlighting some routine maintenance on outdoor sculpture at a museum.
  • And finally, there are examples of higher revenues - there are a number of museums that have placed digital images of their collecitons on Flickr with a copyright liscence that allows anybody to use these images non commercially.
  • Instead of finding that requests for reproduction declines, what they’ve found is that this has lead to more Rights and Repro income.

  • While there’s the one disadvantage that’s hard to deny

    If you take the time think it through  so that you can advocate effectively inside your own institution, then listen to what’s happening around you so that you can pull in content and send it out again,
  • I think you’ll find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
  • Thanks for your attention - I’ve collected the resources on a web page that you can access with this short url or social media 4 collectionscare . wikispaces. com
  • Outreach Through Media [New]

    1. 1. platforms where people interact to share information and ideas Serving up the barbeque at the Pie Town, New Mexico, Fair Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, call number LC-USF35-368
    2. 2. video sharing service over web, mobile computing devices, internet television
    3. 3. sharing photos and short videos service over web, mobile computing devices
    4. 4. 140 character messages with the opportunity to share links, photos, and videos service over web, mobile computing devices, mobile phones via text
    5. 5. a place to share messages, web links, photos, and videos service over web, mobile computing devices
    6. 6. American Antiquarian Society American Alpine Club Library
    7. 7. New York State Archives The National Archives
    8. 8. The Indianapolis Museum of Art
    9. 9. Mount Clare Museum House on Facebook Text
    10. 10. Jack Delano, Georgia? Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, call number LC-USF35-601
    11. 11. Photograph of Women Working at a Bell System Telephone Switchboard, U.S. National Archives' Local Identifier: 86-WWT-28-3
    12. 12. Amanda Lenhart, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, Kathryn Zickuhr. 2010. Social Media and Young Adults. February 3. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media- and-Young-Adults.aspx , accessed April 19, 2010.
    13. 13. platforms in the palm of your hand
    14. 14. Phillips Glass Plate Negative Collection, Powerhouse Museum, Gift of the Estate of Raymond W Phillips, 2008
    15. 15. Excerpted from IMA-Blog-Guidelines-3.3.09.pdf, accessed May 29, 2009
    16. 16. http://bit.ly/9Iogdq
    17. 17. provide images of carousel animals to potential Adopt-a-Carousel Animal donors communicate the summer work project's progress with adoptive donors provide potential interns with an idea of what the summer work project is about do the above without impacting the email server do it all in a budget-neutral, brand-conscious, elegant manner that doesn't take lots of time
    18. 18. Work it out privately…
    19. 19. Work it out privately… …before you do it in the name of your institution
    20. 20. Documentation is part of standard operating procedure for conservators, so it’s not a large stretch to rework the words and photos for public consumption.
    21. 21. Community television stations may provide equipment and editing help free of charge to non-profits
    22. 22. State Library and Archives of Florida, c009833 (via Flickr Commons) State Library and Archives of Florida, c009833
    23. 23. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-B2- 2667-6
    24. 24. http://twitter.com/magnes/status/1447871958, accessed May 28, 2009. http://twitter.com/tenementmuseum/status/1360596904, accessed May 28, 2009
    25. 25. The demographics for this group is a bit older.
    26. 26. What’s the return on investment? http://twitter.com/MichelleNMoon/status/1743112573, accessed May 29, 2009.
    27. 27. *your mileage may vary 30% increase in visitation increased traffic to official website increased media attention more invitations for talks about Bletchley Park new opportunities for collaboration
    28. 28. http://twitter.com/publichistorian/status/14719964429, accessed May 27, 2010.
    29. 29. 1 3 4 2
    30. 30. Excerpted from Perian Sully. 2010. Interested Public is Interested - *Using Flickr to Put Collection Assets Online presented at the California Association of Museums Annual Conference, March 5, San Jose, CA. http://tinyurl.com/ycxhr2w , accessed 5 April, 2010.
    31. 31. Excerpted from Perian Sully. 2010. Interested Public is Interested - *Using Flickr to Put Collection Assets Online presented at the California Association of Museums Annual Conference, March 5, San Jose, CA. http://tinyurl.com/ycxhr2w , accessed 5 April, 2010.
    32. 32. • Takes time • Inexpensive • Fulfill your mission in a new way • Create new partnerships • Engage new audiences • See your collections in a new light
    33. 33. Do what makes sense for you and have fun. Adapted from Nina Simon, “How to Develop a (Small-Scale) Social Media Plan” Museum 2.0, http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-to-develop-small-scale-social- media.html, accessed June 10, 2009.
    34. 34. http://bit.ly/9Iogdq