For a generation captivated by smartphones and iPads, museums can often invoke horrific memories of getting in trouble during your fifth grade field trip to the Art Institute because you laughed at the scantily-clad ancient Roman statues. Doomed to a week of no recess for scoffing in the face of art, museums became the enemy that caused your pain and suffering for those five long days cooped up inside. Now, though, museums are propelling themselves into the 21st century, turning to social media to draw in the crowds it lost due to boring class trips in the 90s. From Facebook and YouTube to Flickr and Pinterest, here are the best ways Boston’s museums are utilizing social media platforms to attract visitors and bring their exhibits into the digital age.
Boston Public Library – Flickr
Who says books are boring? The BPL has digitized thousands of its collections, uploading them onto Flickr in more than 85 sets for your viewing pleasure. From historical protests to old school snowstorms, the BPL’s Flickr is a snapshot into the rich history of Boston and its people.
ICA – Twitter
Everyone and their moms are on Twitter these days, but not everyone is doing it right. The ICA’s handle, @ICAinBOSTON, works for me. It’s conversational in a fun way, responding to inquiries, retweeting articles and blog posts and snapping cool photos of the art is houses. And it’s not overpowering on your feed – it tweets just enough to remind you that it’s there, gracing the waterfront with its beauty whenever you want to come relish in it.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – Pinterest
After reopening last month with a $114 million facelift, the Gardner Museum recently jumped on the hottest social network around: Pinterest. The museum’s page boasts 10 boards, each featuring different categories of art found in the museum, from furniture and stained glass to portraits of Isabella herself. Because Pinterest is incredibly visual, the platform lends itself to displaying Isabella’s eclectic collections in an eye-catching way. Because of this, we have a feeling more art museums will jump on the Pinterest bandwagon.
Museum of Science – Facebook
With almost 28,000 Facebook fans, the MOS knows how to attract quite the following. Their Facebook wall is littered (in a good way) with giveaways, behind the scenes photos and facts about their latest exhibits and lectures at the museum. If you don’t check the Museum’s website every day (let’s be honest, who actually does?) their Facebook page is an easy way to stay up-to-date. After all, you’re always on Facebook anyways.
Museum of Fine Arts – Facebook
The MFA’s Facebook page is also impressive, boasting nearly 56,000 fans. As an art museum, they’ve taken advantage of Facebook as a visual platform, posting 59 photo albums of exhibits, gallery renovations, galas and more to keep the art relevant and constantly top of mind in your newsfeed. It’s also worth mentioning that the MFA is one of the most checked-in to tourist attractions on Foursquare. The Museum does lose points in my book, though, because the links to its social media platforms are so hidden on its website.
New England Aquarium – YouTube
The whole point of an Aquarium is to view real-life marine species swimming around, and YouTube is the virtual way to do that. The Aquarium has uploaded over 350 videos of its fish, seals, penguins and other water-loving creatures, as well as lecture series, charity events and even one engagement.