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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.

What do we really know about social media in museums?


With years of collective experience in social media engagement, many museums are stopping to ask themselves: what have we really learned about the audiences we are connecting with? Have we formed more meaningful relationships with our community and in the process, are we better serving the missions of our institutions? Could the future of our digital outreach be primarily based on social engagement and if so, are our organizations adapting rapidly enough to be prepared for this social future? Are our current social media practices engaging online communities to their greatest potential, or are we missing out on crowdsourcing, collaboratively learning, or other as-yet undiscovered social experiences? How can we better evaluate the success of our efforts and take our social media engagement to the next level?

This extended professional forum will use a range of social media platforms to engage museum professionals attending Museums and the Web and beyond in this discussion. This social media event component will begin before the meeting in San Diego 11-14 April using a wiki and other social media platforms, and the conversation about what we really know about social media, museum content, and cultural institution audiences will surely continue long afterwards as well. The aim is to engage fellow practitioners in defining the myths and assumptions we most want to “bust,” and to gather data in order to formulate testable hypotheses for this provocative discussion, culminating in a special professional forum at the MW2012 conference.


Professional Forum - discuss an issue


efrankle's picture
Elissa Frankle is a coordinator in the Leadership Programs division of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, where her duties range from teaching law enforcement officers about ethical leadership and safeguarding democracy to managing the community of the Children of the...
goodlanderg's picture
Georgina Goodlander became the Web and Social Media Content Manager in 2011. She is responsible for developing and implementing the museum's strategy for online outreach through social media, email marketing, websites and other digital media. She is also coordinator for the groundbreaking...
Victoria Portway's picture
Vicki Portway leads web & new media initiatives for the National Air and Space Museum to include the museum's public web presence, social media outreach, mobile experiences, museum-based interactives, etc. Perks of the job include advocating for innovation, agility and openness to engage our...
Jeff Gates's picture
He is the Lead Producer in New Media Initiatives at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2005 he proposed and helped launch the Smithsonian's first blog, Eye Level. He has written about social media's effect organizational structures. Confessions of a Long Tail Visionary speaks to the culture...
darrenmilligan's picture
Darren Milligan is the designer and director of digital media projects at the Center for Education and Museum Studies at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, USA. There he produces digital learning resources, manages social media initiatives, and directs websites including the two-time...
balpert's picture
Brian Alpert has been professionally dedicated to the Web since 1996. As the Smithsonian Institution's Web Analytics and Search Engine Marketing Analyst, Brian Alpert helps Smithsonian 'web practitioners' with training and analysis, as well as hands-on program facilitation. Previously, as Texas...
Erin Blasco's picture
I'm a museum educator who started out working in on-site programming, creating and evaluating hands-on activities for target audiences that were fun and social while also achieving learning outcomes. Now I do pretty much the same thing but I use social media and web tools to engage the public. I'm...
Sarah Banks's picture
Biography pending.
dklevan's picture
Hi. I am a career educator focused on digital engagement for broad and diverse audiences at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I'm interested in explorations of best practices for uses of technology to engage people in critical thinking, and I enjoy the challenge of how to deepen...
awong22's picture
I manage social media outreach at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and I just finished my Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. My dissertation looked at the politics of how museums construct "community" through social media. I'm interested in how museums can use...