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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Moving the Museum to the Medium: YouTube Play and the Guggenheim


In June 2010, the Guggenheim Museum and YouTube, in collaboration with HP and Intel, launched YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video, a project conceived to discover and showcase the most exceptional talent working in the ever-expanding realm of online video. Drawing on the Guggenheim’s ongoing commitment to new media, the goal of the project was not to discover what’s ‘now,’ but what’s next in creative

Over 23,000 video submissions were received from creators in 91 countries around the world, which were considered by the Guggenheim curatorial team for the shortlist. A jury of experts comprising celebrated figures from the worlds of art, design, film, and entertainment reviewed the submissions for inclusion in the first biennial of creative video organized by a major museum of contemporary art. The 25 videos were on view in the Guggenheim Museum for four days and a live event celebrating the work was lived streamed to the world on

In conjunction with the project, the Guggenheim curatorial team launched The Take Blog (, a space on the Guggenheim’s Web site for commentary and discussion by the museum’s invited guests, staff, and Web site visitors featuring writings by scholars, artists, and other experts. The blog provided a
space for the expert community to elevate the conversation surrounding the project and provided a discussion platform for topics including online video, digital content, the history of video art, and the effects of the Internet on art and culture.

Social media was the primary tool used to engage online audiences with The Take Blog over the four-month life of the YouTube Play project and beyond, along with e-mail marketing and on-site computer kiosks at the museum. Strategic social media collaboration with YouTube and HP served to drive growth and attract new audiences on the Guggenheim’s social media channels and Web site. From July 1-Nov 1, 2010, both Facebook and Twitter amassed over 76,000 new followers, a 94% and 67% increase respectively, while the blog attracted over 67,000 visitors--more than
major exhibition microsites such as
Kandinsky and Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward.

In addition, the YouTube Play Web site garnered more than 10 million online viewers the day of the live event—a greater number of views than the Guggenheim Web site received the entire year.
To date, the project has attracted over 23 million viewers to the
YouTube Play Web site, providing a platform to highlight some of the most innovative work being produced online today. These unfathomable statistics were achieved through tapping into YouTube, HP and Intel’s deep technological resources, the Guggenheim’s expertise in new media, and the collective communications outreach in the global social space.


Demonstration - show your project


nsemel's picture
Nora Semel is the Associate Director of External Affairs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Nora’s role within the institution is to develop and advise on near- and long-term strategic communications initiatives, manage special projects, and support the media relations efforts of the...
fmerlino's picture
Francesca Merlino is the Senior Marketing Manager of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York responsible for developing strategic integrated marketing programs that leverage traditional, digital, and emerging media to support the museum's vital operations, revenue-generating activities, and...