From March 23 to 29, 2015, museums and cultural institutions all around the world will be invading your timeline! A thousand museums from 44 different countries are celebrating arts and culture on Twitter with a helping hand from fun and recreational hashtags.
To mark this occasion the press was summoned to rue Valois, Paris, for a presentation of this year’s #MuseumWeek, in the presence of Minister of Culture and Communication Fleur Pellerin, and no less than Dick Costolo, the current CEO of Twitter!
Once upon a time…
In 2014, Twitter France and 12 French Community Managers launched the idea of a week dedicated to museums on Twitter. This initiative met with great enthusiasm and was rolled out across Europe, bringing together 630 cultural institutions, including 103 in France.
It can’t be stressed enough that museums and cultural institutions were tweeting long before #MuseumWeek. However, the emergence of this new event stands as a symbol of the size of the #museogeek movement (in French), which is very active on digital social networks.
In its AFP dispatch at the end of March 2014, Twitter France announced there had been more than 260,000 #MuseumWeek tweets and also declared that “this initiative allowed museums and European cultural establishments, most of which have been present on Twitter for several years, to unite their passion around the same objective: making culture accessible to everyone, wherever they are in the world, demonstrating the potential of Twitter as a tool for education, discovery and exchange.”
#MuseumWeek, 2015 vintage
In February, we also discovered the new visual identity — the result of dedicated work by the steering committee. This stood out when Claire Gayet, advisor for digital communication on the committee and digital communication and public relations project manager at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, told us about the way these choices were made, notably concerning the communication strategy : “We made the choice together, particularly for the visual identity and website. The steering committee was made up of advisors including coordinator of #MuseumWeek Benjamin Benita (Universcience), Elise Maillard (Musée du Louvre) for communication, Claire Seguret (Musée de Cluny) for the pedagogy, Jacqueline Eidelmann (Ministry of Culture and Communication) for the evaluation, and myself (Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine) for the digital communication, with each being able to relay information to other members in their team. The steering committee worked directly with Twitter and the Ministry’s delegation for information and communication.”
In the editorial of the guide Lumières sur les réseaux sociaux, Fleur Pellerin had already placed #MuseumWeek alongside other great cultural events like the European Heritage Days, the Long Night of Museums and the Fête de la Musique. She made this point again in her speech, also thanking the museums and institutions participating in #MuseumWeek and highlighting the actions of the 200 community managers involved in this democratisation of culture.
Everything suggests that #MuseumWeek will become a cultural event recognised alongside so many others, with one important difference: #MuseumWeek takes place across the whole planet simultaneously.
“Giving a global dimension to the event and gathering a still larger public” is one of the objectives of this new version, explained Claire Gayet.
Mar Dixon, social media expert for the arts, confirmed that foreign museums were also in the starting blocks and that she was accompanying certain of them with the use of webinars.
When virtual feeds reality
Claire Gayet also informed us that “other innovations including the Time Capsule at the Cité des sciences et de l’Industrie and Studio BRIGHT’s generative artwork, which will be exhibited at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine.”
Yes, you read that correctly: A Time Capsule! Straight out of an episode of Saved by the Bell!
Everything seems to be in place for the launch of #MuseumWeek 2015, and there is little doubt this year’s event will be a great success. Still, this “good spirited” project, as a representative for Universcience called it, must be careful not lose it’s sense of fun and it’s offbeat tone. After all, #MuseumWeek is also about having fun, right?