Tuesday, 1 March 2016




I have been noticing that many of the smaller museums I’ve been visiting have implemented impressively large and expensive digital projects. Yet the resources these projects require, often mean that the museum will only undertake a new initiative every few years. Even if audience members are impressed with a digital initiative, they are likely to forget by the time the next project is developed. Which raises the question 'How do you create sustainable projects which cultivate your online audience?' One way would be to create smaller projects that simply require fewer resources to create. Below I have included four quick and easy ways to energise your digital audience.

A great example of a colouring page from the Mütter Museum. Source.

#1 - Create Colouring Pages Based on Your Collection

I admit to being a strong supporter of adult colouring, but this latest trend of museums getting on board has me beyond excited as I’ve watched my twitter feed light up with images tagged #ColourOurCollections (#ColorOurCollections is used in the United States). In case you missed out on the phenomenon, throughout the week of February 1-7, museums have been releasing black and white images of their collections, designed for users to download and colour themselves at home. Some of the creations are stunning and definitely lets users look at the objects with new eyes. 

#2 - Make a Quiz

In my Museums and New Media class, we broke up into groups and were tasked with developing a tool for enlivening museum collections online. My group came up with a personality quiz, like those on Buzzfeed or Zimbio that would allow social users to develop personal connections with objects in the collection. Examples of quizzes could be: “Who is your historical BFF?”, “What iconic fashion accessory should you wear?”, “Which dinosaur would you like as a pet?”. I went ahead and made a quick example on “What Historic Toronto House Should you Have Lived in?” If done well, visitors will share the quiz results over social media.

#3 - Run a Photo Editing, Gif Creating, or Other Kind of Contest

When I first saw the Tate’s 1840s Gif Party I was smitten. The creations were delightfully fun and made me notice details about the artworks that I would have otherwise glanced over. While certainly impressive, not all contests have to have to be done on such a large scale. You could send people on a scavenger hunt of your collections to win coupons. Another possibility would be to offer free coffee for the best museum selfie.
One of the creations from the 1840s gif party. Source.

#4 - Create a fill in the blanks game

I used to love laughing over Mad Libs at sleepovers as a child, but they are still great fun as an adult. The basic premise is that you generate a list of words based on prompts and then transfer them to the paragraph below. The results are normally pretty hilarious and it’s easy to create your own. You can circulate them as text or use one of the fancy online generators like Word Blanks. Feel free to leave your results in the comments section.

BONUS: Fill in the Blanks Game

____________________ The name your favourite museum
____________________ Adjective
____________________ Plural noun
____________________ Noun
____________________ Emotion
____________________ Verb (past tense)
____________________ Adverb
____________________ Noun
____________________ Noun 
____________________ Noun
____________________ Adjective 
____________________ Plural Noun
____________________ Adjective
____________________ Noun
____________________ Verb (past tense)

A Trip to the Museum

Today I went to the _________________________ (the name your favourite museum) . They had a new exhibition on _________________________ (adjective) _________________________ (plural noun). My favourite part of the exhibit was the terracotta _________________________ (noun). When I saw it I was so _________________________ (emotion) that I _________________________ (verb - past tense). A _________________________ (adverb) security guard came over to ask if everything was alright, but I reassured her that I was fine and just needed a _________________________ (noun). I then visited the _________________________ (noun) gallery and saw a giant _________________________ (noun). There was a _________________________ (adjective) class in the gallery studying _________________________ (plural noun). Before leaving, I stopped at the gift shop and bought a/an _________________________ (adjective) _________________________ (noun). I was so excited that I _________________________ (verb - past tense). 

1 comment:

  1. What an exceptionally creative collection of ideas, Orvis. Thank you so much for sharing them, I'm sure many museum professionals will enjoy implementing some of these! I'm definitely going to use the fill-in-the-blank style of activity in the future.