Anyone with an interest in social media and museums can join this wiki and participate in the discussion. You don't need to be a member to see everything on this site, but you're welcome to join

What is #musesocial?

An active, ongoing discussion among museum professionals about BIG topics related to social media and museums. Our goal is to provide a supportive community of sharing, research, discussion & collaborative learning. The discussion is always happening on Twitter, and live events are often scheduled to address specific questions. Organizers are welcome to post dates, times & topics here and use this wiki and/or Storify to archive #musesocial discussions.

Use #musesocial any time!
Having a social media in museums conversation and want more participants? Planning a conference session or group talk? Got burning questions you want to ask the community? Whether organized or informal, large or small, feel free to use #MuseSocial any time to facilitate your conversation and chat with the community.

AAM 2013 Resources

Add you stuff here!


Next up

@alli_burnie and @ashgmartin are planning a #musesocial chat on #musedata, focusing on how to use museum data in digital spaces, leveraging collection data, and apply audience research. Stay tuned for details!


May 24, 2013: Museums and Social Media

Hosts: @LonMuseumsGroup
Hashtag: #musesocial

London Museums Group Museums & Social Media Event & LMG AGM
Held on 12.30 – 15.30 | Friday 24 May
Venue | The Clore Auditorium, Tate Britain

The storify of the event |

Event background
This event explored how we as museum professionals can use social media effectively to engage with the public, develop interactive participation and how we can evaluate them. A great line up of speakers shared their insights and experiences. A series of blogs will be published soon.

Timetable | 12.30 Registration | 1.00 AGM

1.20 Open Networks, Open Conversation
Nancy Groves, Editor, Guardian Culture Professionals Network |
Shared how social media is a conversation and how Guardian Cultural Professional Network is a place for creative thinking, advice and connection for the cultural community.

2.00 To blog or not to blog?
Julie Reynolds, Freelance researcher & London Museums Group
Shared different experiences of blogging and how and why LMG blog.

2.20 How does a small museum use social media?
Alex Smith, Outreach Officer, Islington Heritage |
Shared how a small museum can connect with new audiences using social media tools.

2.40 Digital participation and public engagement
Mia Ridge, Chair, Museums Computer Group and PhD researcher |
Shared knowledge and insights into digital participation and public engagement.

3.00 How and what to evaluate?
Elena Villaespesa, Web Analyst and Producer, Tate |
Shared how to evaluate social media and develop an evaluation methodology, using the case study The Tanks.

London Museums Group
London Museums Group represents all London museums and those who work in them. It is open to paid workers, volunteers, freelancers from curators and cafe staff to directors and documentation assistants. If you work in a museum or your museum is based in the London region then you’re welcome to join us. Membership is free!

May 8, 2013: What happens when an exhibition is a program?

NOON PST (see those times in your time zone)
Oakland Museum of California, we/customize exhibition lounge
Hashtag: #musesocial

Sean Olson, OMCA Research and Experience Coordinator @OaklandRover
Carin Adams, OMCA Associate Curator Art and Material Culture @OaklandRover
Robert Fahey, OMCA Social Media Coordinator @oaklandmuseumca

Exhibition/Topic Background
The Oakland Museum of California is trying something new—we are building an exhibition in an open gallery in full view of our visitors and we invite you to join us.

The we/customize project explores the Bay Area perspective on the popular cultural activities of hacking, remixing, tailoring, modding, mash-ups, kit bashing, and customizing. The connecting spark in each of these spheres of activity is the shared impulse of the maker to radically alter mass-produced objects to suit their personal standards. Community input helped shape the project from the earliest stages of development.

The project launched this fall when our customized, electric mobile museum, the Oakland Rover, hit local streets to learn how our community makes objects their own. These program “missions,” as we called them, featured customizers leading demonstrations and hands-on activities related to many facets of customization. From toy hacking to airbrushing, sound remixing and bike modification - Oakland Rover programs led to rich interactions with the public, who contributed their ideas and the projects they made with us.

What happens when an exhibition is a program? To get at the meat of this question here are some supportive questions we might delve into.
  • What is a program?
  • How does this work in the exhibition when there isn’t a program?
  • How do we address different types of visitors ie different levels of participation
  • Program vs. activity - Do audiences care about the difference?
  • How are we defining content?
  • How do audiences define themselves and their style of participation within a museum?

May 8, 2013: MCNPro workshop on social media evaluation

11:30am-2:00pm EST
Participants in the workshop featuring Seb Chan, Jane Finnis, Vicki Portway, and Dana Allen-Greil were encouraged to use the #MCNPro and #musesocial hashtags.
A combination of metrics and evaluation tools were discussed, the challenges associated with interpreting social analytics and producing reports, and how museums are gradually working toward making social success a regular (and less daunting) part of their museum’s reporting activities

April 23, 2013: What's the point of social media for museums?

Hosts: @danamuses and @sluggernova

Access the Storify archive for this chat.


Before we can measure success, we must first be able to answer the question: Why is social media important for museums and what are we hoping to achieve? This chat was about connecting our social media efforts to broader strategies and goals (and less about the mechanics of measurement).

We discussed:
  • Q1: What are your goals for social media? How do you explain the point of your social media efforts to others?
  • Q2: Do you have a separate social media strategy or is it part of a broader digital plan? Is it written down at all?
  • Q3: What parts of your mission and/or strategy align with your social media outreach?
  • Q4: How do you currently report social media success? Is it proactive or requested by leadership?
  • Q5: Do your reports inform and alter your tactical approaches to social media outreach?
  • Q6: Are you happy with your current goals, measurement (metrics), and reporting process? Why or why not?
  • Q7: What are your burning questions about defining and measuring social media success in museums?
  • Q8: After this chat, do you feel you have a better script for an “elevator speech” on why social media matters to your museum?

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Mini-tweetup from 1-3:30 PM ET and Twitter chat from 3:30-4:45 PM ET (see those times in your time zone)
Hashtag: #musesocial
Hosts: @erinblasco, @museumtrekker, @mardixon, @jennifuchs

Q1: Who is your target audience for museum Tweetups? (user scenario / audience profile, who typically signs up for tweetups/socials and why)
Q2: How do Tweetups benefit audiences & museum's mission? (What are your goals? What is the experience you want to provide?)
Q3: How do Tweetups fit in with your overall outreach strategy? (Are they experimental or a key component?)
Q4: What are expectations of Tweetup attendees? (be clear, have you set expectations & initiated your audience?)
Q5: What are key elements of a good museum Tweetup? (social/sharing time, informal/fun, facilitate convo & community, direct interaction with great people, great content/subject, exclusivity OR uniqueness (behind the scenes is awesome, but awesome experience is most important), sense of involvement/contribution)
Q6: How do Tweetups differ from traditional in-person museum programs? How are they similar? (leverage existing processes & procedures, some unique challenges, be realistic about resources & set expectations accordingly)
Q7: How do museums measure Tweetup Success? (NEED GOALS! DEFINE ENGAGEMENT!)
Q8: How should museums continue to cultivate the relationships established during a Tweetup?
Q9: Open to burning questions, tips, etc.

After the last #SItweetup (Storify, blog post), I got some good questions from museum colleagues about how we did it, what the results were, and how to convince colleagues to give it a try. So I'm hoping to bring together folks who've organized, attended, and dreamed of doing tweetups/socials/programs that blend on-site and online engagement to discuss.

A few out-of-town museum tweeps are being treated to a little behind-the-scenes tour at the National Museum of American History (@amhistorymuseum) from 1-3:30 PM and they'll tweet along using the #musesocial hashtag. If you want to see what a mini-tweetup looks like, follow along, tweet them questions, and participate, whether you have five minutes or an hour to spare. Then, join us from 3:30-4:45 PM for a Twitter chat about the challenges and fun of merging on-site programs and events with social media. We'll discuss best practices, how to measure the impact of these programs, and ways to get curators, marketing, and other key staff on-board.

I'll do my best to Storify the mini-tweetup as well as the chat, but if you'd like to volunteer to help out with that or facilitate in another way, shoot me an e-mail at blascoe[at]si[dot]edu.

See you then!

P.S. See below for details on the #drinkingaboutmuseumsdc taking place the same evening.

P.P.S. Today's mini-tweetup is different from the usual format of Smithsonian tweetups (which use the #SItweetup tag). Today's version was limited to a small number of museum staffers invited by the museum whereas Smithsonian tweetups have an open application process in which anyone can apply to participate. As a precursor to presentations we are preparing for the American Alliance of Museums conference and other research, we're doing this example tweetup to help members of the museum community discuss the value of this type of programming with each other and the public. As a result, we selected participants from among museum staffs who are actively involved in this research and discussion. #SItweetup opportunities are tweeted from the @Smithsonian account and just one way to experience the Smithsonian through social media. Other opportunities, like this one at the Air and Space Museum, will continue to be offered. If you want to see more tweetup opportunities at museums, send a tweet to your favorite museum and let them know!

mini tweetup we has one.jpg


ALL ARE INVITED TO DC #drinkingaboutmuseums event this Thursday, April 4th at the Pour House in Capitol Hill from 6 to 10pm!

Come join me (@museumtrekker), Mar Dixon, Jenni Fuchs, Erin Blasco, Nancy Proctor & many more for drinks & a chance to meet many of our friends from DC museums!

The Pour House has 3 bars
If you come early, find us upstairs in the "Top of the Hill" bar, hanging out in the WWII era lounge. Happy hour goes until 8 & you can order great appetizers & dinner until closing.

If you come later in the evening & we aren't upstairs, you'll probably find us downstairs in the game room! That's right! Wii, skeeball & even shuffleboard! It'll be a great time!

The Pour House
319 Pennsylvania ave., SE
Washington, DC 20003

Top of the Hill bar (upstairs)

Thursday, April 4th, 6 to 10 pm
#drinkingaboutmuseums DC

RSVP is not required, but if you know you're coming, drop @MuseumTrekker a line!

Let's make this a big one, so get the word out! The bar knows we'll be there on Thursday. Please make some time to come out to meet old friends & make some new ones!

A few questions for today's #musesocial chat.

December 6, 2012 - #MuseSocial Chat: Museum Blogs

2-3 PM EST
Storify of all/most of the tweets (a bit chaotic to read):
Storify of key tweets in categories (smoother read):
Excel spreadsheet of all tweets:

Museum blogs aren't new (in fact, they've been accused of being dead) but we're thinking about them in new ways and have questions to consider as other social media outlets vie for our time. Sarah and I are both in the midst of re-evaluating existing museum blogs and wondering how they need to change and stay the same to continue to remain relevant. Some of our questions:

  • How to make blogs more social?
  • Is there still a demand for blogs? Websites are more easily updated. Attention spans have shrunk.
  • Are blogs worth the workload? How do you measure and illustrate their value?
  • What are the best museum blogs out there? What blogs have been re-envisioned or re-designed successfully?
  • What other formats might be better? What about Tumblr?
  • Who's the audience? What do we know about them? What do they want?
  • How do you know if your blog is doing well? It may not have the same up-to-the-minute metrics and feedback as other social networks.
  • How social do you want your blog to be?
  • What do you want to know about your blog’s audience?
  • How would you make changes to target particular segments of your audience without alienating your core audience?
  • What is the workflow like for your museum’s blog? What's the best way to handle moderation?

The topic of this chat was inspired by "Tales from the blog," a presentation at MCN2012 by Susan Cairns, Ed Rodley, Mike Murawski, and Eric Siegel. While neither Sarah nor I got to attend MCN2012, the #mcn2012tale tweets from the session intrigued us as well as this blog post by Erin Branham over at Edgital. Panelist Mike Murawski's post on the main themes of the panel is also good reading. Another inspiration was the article "A Status Update Does Not a Blog Make" by Ian Williams. A favorite quote: "It's no secret that Facebook killed blogging and didn't even really replace it." So now what?

Since so much has been said on this topic, we're hoping you take a couple minutes to read one of the posts referenced above (and please recommend more!) before the chat, sort of bookclub style. If you've never been part of a #musesocial chat before, don't freak out. Just use so you don't forget the hashtag and speak up. We'll tweet out main questions for discussion but also encourage a free flow of on-topic conversation.

Hosted by:
  • Erin Blasco, National Museum of American History, (@erinblasco)
  • Sarah Banks, National Museum of Natural History, (@sbanks20)

November 2, 2012 - #MuseSocial Chat: The Social Museum

Friday, Nov. 2 from 12-1:30 PM PST
Hosted by:
  • Willa Koerner, Digital Engagement Associate, San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMOMA) @willak
  • Sarah Bailey Hogarty, Curatorial Assistant to the Chief Curator, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) @sbhogarty
  • Kathyrn Jaller, New Media Manager, Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), San Francisco @kholler

Topic: What does it mean for a museum to be social? How do museums translate real life interaction into online engagement, and vice versa? And what do users really want from museums on social media, anyway? The hosts really want to hear from people who love museums (but don't work in them). This chat leads up to this MCN session.

September 19, 2012 - #AskACurator Day

August 23, 2012 - #MuseSocial Chat: What Do Emerging Professionals Need to Know About Technology in Museums

3-5 PM EDT - What do students planning to go into the museum field need to know about technology in museums?
Amelia Wong (@amelialikespie), Erin Blasco (@erinblasco), and Darren Milligan (@darrenmilligan) want to know what you think! We're planning a #MuseSocial

A note from Amelia: This topic was prompted by my recent job transition to The George Washington University, where I will be designing the curriculum about museums and technology for the Museum Studies program. As I develop courses, I want to be mindful to the universe of ideas, concepts, priorities, tools, trends, and real-world challenges of using, designing, implementing, and evaluating technology in current museum practice. So, I've been talking to a lot of colleagues in person, but it seemed best to open up the discussion as wide as possible. I'm interested in hearing about practical things (e.g., "Students really need to know how to code.") and the philosophical (e.g., "Students really need to understand the potential of collective intelligence.") and I hope this discussion will be free-ranging and free-wheeling. Thank you very much in advance for participating.
  • What do museum practitioners who are using/designing/evaluating technology in museum experiences for visitors need to know?"
  • What knowledge of technologies is useful for performing your job?
  • What will you need to know about using/designing/evaluating technology in museum work in the future? What skills will you need to master?
  • If you could educate your colleagues about museum technology, what would you teach them?
  • If you could attend a training on any muse tech topic, what would it be?
  • Aside from practical skills and technical knowledge, what philosophy, theory, or values should they be familiar with?
  • What concepts about technology do they need to be familiar with?
  • What concepts about technology in education do they need to be familiar with?

August 8, 2012 - #MuseSocial Chat: Social Media and Leadership

Date: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 | Time: 12:30 - 3:00 p.m. EDTHosted by @sluggernova, @sbanks20, @darrenmilligan, and @erinblasco
Summaries and reactions:

July, 2012: Digital Scholarship in the 21st Century

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the digital scholarship in the 21st century chat! If you're looking to catch up on what you missed, the super un-edited Storify is here: We will be editing this a bit for easier reading over the next day or two but you can check it out now if you're curious.

May 8, 2012 - #MuseSocial Chat: Bridging the On-Site and Online Experience

Noon - 5:00 p.m. - EST Discussed ways in which museums bridge the gap between experiences that take place in the museum's physical space and those that take place online.
  • Q1: Audience expectations: What do audiences expect of the online vs. on-site museum experiences? Do they expect or want the two experiences to connect? What would a seamless online/on-site experience look or feel like? Is that even the goal? Aside from "visit our website for more information," what can online resources offer to the on-site visit and vice versa? What is the point and impact of live tweeting an on-site program or webcasting a behind-the-scenes event? If a museum's social media and web resources are highly participatory and engaging, does the on-site experience have to match that?
  • Q2: Connectors: What social media tactics are the best for connecting the physical and online experiences? Museums are full of social objects that spark debate, discussion, and exchange. If you want to recreate or connect to that museum experience via social media, how do you do it? What about making social media visible in the physical museum? How do visitors share an on-site experience with pals from their social networks aside from furtive cell phone pictures? What would an online-only program look like and would it be any fun? What about live tweeting and tweet-ups?
  • Q3: Impact: What are the advantages of a seamless experience between the museum's virtual and physical worlds? Disadvantages? Can an online experience improve or detract from an on-site experience and vice versa? How does the interplay of the two experiences impact learning and align with museum goals?
  • Q4: Free range discussion inspired by the overall topic. Ask your questions, answer questions, share great examples, and suggest topics for our next #musesocial chat!
Anyone can join in #musesocial chats. Drop in for 20 minutes or stay for an hour. Following the conversation can be a lot easier with a tool like If you have a question not answered here, you can e-mail Erin at or tweet her at @erinblasco. We hope to see you there!

May 1, 2012: Social Media Metrics 101

Session at 2012 AAM conference.

Can Mobile Interpretation Be Social?

Session at 2012 AAM

March 20, 2012: Social Media IN Exhibits: What Works, What Doesn't?
2:00-3:45 p.m. | National Postal Museum | Metro: Union Station | 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC 20002 Social media practitioners, exhibit experts, educators, and other museum colleagues discussed what works and what doesn’t when social media is introduced into physical, on-site exhibits.

March - April 2012 - #MuseSocial Chats & More: "What Do We Know About Museums and Social Media"

Research, #musesocial chats, and more related to 2012 Museums and the Web Session.