Monday, May 18th is International Museum Day, the mission of which is to raise awareness of the fact that, “museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”
It’s also the release date of our eBook co-authored with Cuseum, “The Ultimate Guide to Surviving & Thriving As A Cultural Organization,” which you can pre-download here. In it you’ll find resources for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic; tips for catering to changing consumer expectations; guidance for setting goals, using data, and developing best practices; and insights for leveraging technology tools effectively and a look at the future of technology in this space.
Since its beginning in 1977, International Museum Day is a day when “participating museums plan creative events and activities, engage with their public and highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development.” 2019 saw more than 55,000 museums across 150 countries participate. With this year’s event occurring while many museums are closed due to COVID-19, we compiled some tips on how your museum can leverage digital tools to harness the buzz of this day to engage supporters and audiences, new and old.
- First, be sure to check out the communications tools compiled by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) for participating museums here. You’ll find special activity ideas, best practices on partnerships, and official graphics to use in your marketing efforts.
- Next, keep in mind this year’s theme, Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion, which “aims at becoming a rallying point to both celebrate the diversity of perspectives that make up the communities and personnel of museums, and champion tools for identifying and overcoming bias in what they display and the stories they tell.” On this note, look for ways to promote the initiatives that your museum is doing to encourage diversity and inclusion in your community. Maybe you’ve recently made your space wheelchair accessible or incorporated programming that’s accessible to those who are hearing or sight impaired. Also, consider implementing multilingual programming into your initiatives by translating social media posts, newsletters, online exhibits, or other relevant programming into a mix of languages that reflect the unique multicultural makeup of your surrounding communities. For more ideas, watch our recent webinar on this subject here.
- International Museum Day is also a great opportunity to showcase any virtual learning sessions, live-streams, or online exhibits that your museum may be operating during any COVID-19 closures. If you’re not already doing so, consider live-streaming events such as virtual guided tours, behind the scenes experiences, or curator talks. Museums can also attract attention by driving audiences to their online collections. When doing so, remember to seize the opportunity to fundraise by asking your viewers to support your organization’s mission so you can continue to bring them this valuable content. For more ideas on how to appropriately fundraise, download our Donor Communication Toolkit here.
- As you find ways to participate in this global day celebrating the importance of your community, update your museum’s homepage to show your supporters and audience what you’re doing and how they can follow along. Also consider notifying your local news outlets of your participation. They’ll appreciate the content and it’s an easy way to expand your marketing reach.
- Lastly, it’s important to amplify whatever you do over social media. Using the right hashtags and engaging with the right accounts and communities over Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook are key to your International Museum Day success. You’ll want to use the official hashtags for the day, #IMD2020 and #Museums4Equality for all of your relevant posts, but also consider frequently monitoring those hashtags to see what other museums are posting relative to the day so you can reply or retweet to expand your engagement. You might even want to tune in to other related hashtags such as #MuseSocial or #MuseTech to see what conversations are happening in those social media circles.
Similarly, you can find the Blackbaud Arts & Cultural Solutions team on LinkedIn and Twitter. We’d love you to engage with us using the hashtag #shareyourculture if you found these tips helpful! Plus remember to download our free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Surviving & Thriving As A Cultural Organization.