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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.

Social Media and Organizational Change


There has been great attention placed on how to work in the social media space. This includes how to work with social media in order to improve brand recognition, build a fan base, engage visitors, and expand programming. But you cannot accomplish any of this without staff members who understand how social media can be useful to their work and their institution.

There are critical questions concerning how to sustain, organize, and implement social media within an institution. How do we manage the "brand" with so many people creating content, while also being flexible and bringing out the many voices in an institution?

How to manage social media is a question asked by museums of all sizes and types. We will identify trends in the field as well as available resources that can help facilitate best practices for using social media. We will compare different approaches at different types of institutions (large vs. small, history vs. art museums, local vs. international)

The authors of this paper are from various parts of the country, from different type of museums and ranging in size. With our multiple perspectives, we will address:

  • Internal social media policies and guidelines and how best to introduce and maintain them
  • How social media can be coordinated. Should you distribute management of social media content across an organization, or should there be one point of contact?
  • Tactics for educating and training staff about what social media is and how it can further the mission
  • The new expectations for current staffing positions held within the museum

Promoting a cultural shift that embraces collaborative, agile ways of interacting with our peers and our audiences is critical to our success. We know that different museums have very different attitudes and comfort levels with social media. While risk-taking may not be for every institution, all museums must face the ever-changing world of online engagement. Social media is already altering how museums interact with the public and how museum professionals approach their jobs. This change is fast-paced. It is important that we address it and embrace it as a community.


Paper - in formal session


danaallengreil's picture
Dana Allen-Greil manages a range of new media projects for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, including social media, blogs, e-mail newsletters, online exhibitions, and mobile interpretation. Projects she’s most proud of include: the “O Say Can You See?” blog (for which she’s...
Susan Edwards's picture
I work as a web content developer for the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles. I work on online exhibition content, educational content, games, social media, and mobile projects for various groups within the Trust. I have been fascinated recently by the ways that the boundaries between online and...
JackLudden's picture
Jack Ludden is Head of the Web Group and New Media Development at The J. Paul Getty Trust. Working with his colleagues, Jack helps define the Getty's strategic vision with respect to the web as well as other new media. He also works to improve web development and social media integration. His team...
edmj's picture
I've worked in museums and/or libraries for 22 years, and now as New Media Specialist I'm charged with helping with the social media, website, and electronic marketing of our organization. I've got an MA in U.S. History and an MSIS (library degree) with a concentration in reference and public...

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