Communicating the Museum: From Digital Strategy to Plan of Action – Two Years Down the Road

Kajsa Hartig, Sweden

The Nordiska museet in Stockholm, Sweden, produced in 2010 a digital strategy. This strategy comprises external digital communication, digital infrastructures, database administration and IT-activities.

The main focus of the strategy is to communicate the museums digital resources and knowledgebank. While infrastructure and database management is something that the Nordiska museet has seriously adressed for the last 15 years, using digital tools for communication is more or less new. It is also the part of the strategy that has proven to be the most difficult to implement.

The goals of using of digital tools to communicate the digital resources are:

1. Increase the number actual visits to the museum.

2. To become in 2014 one of the leading Swedish museums in digital mediation of cultural heritage information and communication of cultural history and heritage.

3. Attract new, larger and wider audiences, generate stronger engagement and deepen the relations with strategic and existing audiences.

4. Deepen the museum's relations with it’s visitors, leading to longer and repeated visits and contacts. More should be aware of what the Nordiska museet is and what it stands for.

A New media department was established in January 2011. It gathered the IT-section, the museum’s digital producer (one at the time) and a new position called “Digital Navigator”. The museum’s webmaster remained in the existing Marketing department.

The role of the New media department is to support and further educate museum staff, to produce digital experiences online and onsite, to manage social media and work on strategies for optimizing the use digital tools in communication initiatives.

During its first two years, the New Media department has evolved from having a new and somewhat awkward role – shaping its space in an existing organisation, to being a leading, supportive, trusted and obvious resource to the museum and its staff.

Even so, reaching the established goals turned out to be a bumpy road. The main challenges have been to get the staff aquainted and comfortable with using digital tools, for the department to work with the given assets, implementing a holistic approach to digital communication tools and constantly defining and adjusting the ever changing role of the New media department. This paper is a case study that adresses the obstacles, the difficulties (from trust and mandate to copyright issues) and the many positive experiences that comes from bringing the museum into a new digital era, all in perspective of fellow museums nationally and internationally.