For the museum I created an Instagram page for them. It was harder at first than originally thought since Instagram is widely only used as a mobile application. This limits what you can do online and pictures may only be uploaded by using a smartphone. To try to figure out what to put on there I began to look at what other museums were putting on their Instagram accounts. A lot of the times museums posted objects or paintings that are now being displayed in their current exhibits. This is a good way to advertise their exhibit as their followers can get a glimpse into what kind of interesting artifacts they could see at the museum. Often they would post other pictures of special events they had. By knowing that the MWM deals a great deal with outdoor recreation I began to look at other Instagram pages devoted to this topic. One of the ones I stumped across was the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Instagram. Their Instagram didn’t have a lot of activity, although it did offer a great deal of outdoor scenic photos and group photos. After looking through some more I found out that a great deal of museums also post photos of pictures or artifacts they have which are currently not being displayed.
Overall through this small researching I have found that to keep people interest you not only have to follow the themes of the museum but to also offer diversity in postings. By showing pictures from the exhibit, and others located within the museum we could show not only pictures of the Mountains but we could tell the stories and culture of the White Mountains. Another thing that was noticed is how active these museums are. By being so active they are showing their audience more about their museum it also shows how a museum could have a lot of events and things going on. By displaying a range of photos and staying active the museum could not only bring in more people it could educate people through photos and snip bits of information that could want them to learn more. The more I research the more I realize how important it is to try to come up with content or an activity that sparks interest to the public.
Links to Sites Visited:
Today at the museum instead of doing research for online programs I decided to do some cataloging today. While cataloging going through the pictures I thought about what were museums going to do in the future. With a lot of museums going online and even starting to develop programs for augmented reality and getting into the video game interest it’s interesting to see where museums are going.
The pictures I have been cataloging, have been negative from the 1950s. Seeing these negatives displays not only a different time but a time that has become so vastly different. Today people snap pictures and most likely will never be actually developed and on film. Instead they are all digitized and posted to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. With everything digitized now how are museums going to get ahold of pictures to have a part of the collection? Also will that mean that one day instead of having a real in life collection will everything be digitized? Museums today put their collections online for anyone on the net to see and this continues to grow with museums trying to get their entire collections and exhibits online. Some pros to this is that with technological changes there will be better ways for museums to share information in the future and it will be able to be accessed in several ways. Also another pro would be that people would probably often comment and engage easier online than they would if they got to visit the museum. A con to this would be that if all of the information is online, why would there be a need to physically see it? Even today this is going on regarding books within school. Even though there is a good size library here at Plymouth State I often find that sometimes it is not used to its advantage as online resources, databases and ebooks have become the trend. Knowing this, would people start to begin to just be satisfied with seeing things online? Mostly no, the big museums would still bring in visitors, but how would many of the small museums find there place and audience in a digital age and how that audience could get from behind the laptop and into the door. It really displays how for the future with digitization starting maybe as time goes on participatory projects will be the main focus of museums to not just spark interest but to bring people closer again to photographs and artifacts not just by seeing them online but by personally making a real life connection with it.
With many museums using Omeka as mostly a site to display exhibits, I began to look at the different plugins the museum could add to the Cairn. Omeka offers an entire page devoted to plugins that can be used on Omeka sites. The latest one was Exhibit Builder 3.0, which offers administrators of Omeka sites to create exhibits easier than before. The tricky part was that many of the plugins are divided, some can be used on 1.0 websites only while others can only be used with version 2.0. With the Cairn being an older version it is limited to how it could change. However by updating the museum website it would have to get rid of the Contribute page which is one of the main points of the Cairn.
One of the interesting things about all of this is trying to figure out what is best to do with these projects that are innovated but have a hard time getting started with visitors. Many of the Cairn’s original main idea was to create a space for visitors to come and share their experiences and make connections to exhibits at the MWM. Instagram can take this idea and elevate it by allowing followers to tag their own pictures to share with the MWM Instagram page but also offers glimpses into the museum. By showing paintings, photographs, and artifacts the museum can show followers what the museum has to offer and spark interest to come in among followers. Another plus to Instagram is that is user base is already huge with over 200 million active users a month.
However with that many active users a month the question comes up is how to stay different than other museums that are on Instagram? Also how to promote it comes up as a discussion. One of ways this could happen is by using the kiosk that is accessible to visitors. If the kiosk was to display the museums Instagram’s page, or if the museum sticks with the Cairn, that too could be put on display at the kiosk. The kiosk could be a great promotional tool for either site but the question comes up is how to make visitors stop by and see the kiosk and look at it rather than just going past it. This might be the hardest cause you have to try to make it cool enough for people to be interested in it. Another way it could spread is by using Facebook. With using another social media site we can display and share either the new Instagram page or reintroduce to them the Cairn again and see if it sparks interest. Using Facebook and other sites show how social media can be really good as a free promotional source.
Going back to the museum after spring vacation, it was awesome to see the museum transform from one exhibit to the next. Going through the new exhibit, it showed a different side to the White Mountains, a more rugged view of the White Mountains and how it is a recreational magnet for hikers and recreationalist from around the country. It made me see the transition, and how museums can change from one focus to the next and offer diversity within its main subject matter.
How to promote and spark interest in the exhibit is a subject that is being discussed right now. Trying to come up with innovative ideas for participatory projects are harder than it seems in books and articles I have been reading. Often ideas are tossed around but the hard part is trying to find one that fits with the museum and the direction the museum is going. As Plymouth is located at the start of the White Mountains, it offers tourist a glimpse into the history of the area they are about to enter and see all that it had and currently has to offer. How to bring them into the doors and feel they can participate within the museum and the White Mountains, is also something that is being discussed.
One of the questions that has been brought up is what to do with the Cairn, and what will its involvement be in the next upcoming exhibit. With low users, the idea has come up on updating the Cairn by changing the titles of some confusing web pages and improving the tags and collection system, as searching for certain pictures at the moment is a little confusing. To start off I began looking at other sites that use the web publishing site Omeka. Omeka is known for publishing websites for museums, and libraries to offer access to educational information and exhibits. The first site I went to was The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women. Immediately that jumped out at me was the Twitter widget it had on its homepage. The widget featured the center’s latest tweets, letting visitors known its upcoming events, as well as other things that are going on with the museum as also showing how this information can be easily accessed on. A widget like this could be very useful on the Cairn as users could get connected more to the museum online then they could before. A major component that was observed was that there was no contribute section and instead was mostly focused on exhibits and primary sources than anything else. This was also noted as I visited multiple other Omeka sites. After viewing these sites, I’ve observed that maybe changing the Cairn to a more exhibit focused site could bring more visitors and offer small exhibits on items within the museum that often get over looked. After cataloging a lot of photographs and seeing artifacts held within the museum offer stories which can be unrelated to the current exhibit but also offer different stories that make up the history of the White Mountains.
Screenshot of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women
As my research continues I thought of other elements I could possibly add to this project. As I am starting to develop some interview questions I pondered on what else I should include in the future interactive blog instead of just photographs and interview answers. First thing that came to mind was adding some sort of media like video of audio, however this would prove very difficult as audio or music wouldn’t fit in with the subject matter. The next debate was adding video. I know how it would be extremely interesting for viewers to see some kind of video as it is more in depth than just a photograph. For now I will keep this idea on hold. After being stumped I turned to the book Letting Go? to see if I could get some inspiration. To my surprise I didn’t even have to read an article to get inspiration all I only had to read was the word artist. After I saw this, immediately I had an interesting idea. Here at PSU we have a very good art department. My idea would be to possibly ask some of the art students here at PSU if they would like to do some sort of interesting artistic art work about the White Mountains and try to fit it within the blog. This could be an interesting aspect to add as there are endless possibilities to what artist can come up with and some might fit in just great with this project. For now this is just an idea that I could possibly explore more in depth into as my research continues.
Next I turned my research in a different direction and began to look again at museum websites to see what types of social media outlets they are using and what is successful. One mobile app that I discovered a lot of museums are starting to use is Instagram. Instagram is an app that anybody with a smartphone can download to their phone and start sharing photos. It also has tags which opens up photos to more viewers as Instagram users can search photos by tags. http://nitrogr.am/blog/30-museums-on-instagram/ is a blog that I discovered that list the top thirty museums that are active on Instagram. As I kept reading on I discovered how Instagram shows visitors a look inside the museum and behind the scenes of the museum which has shown to draw in visitors. Below is a list of other articles I read and a video on Museums using Instagram.
Short Video on Instagram and Museums:
Links to sites visited:
As my knowledge for hiking and recreational activities in the White Mountains is limited I felt like today I should gather some knowledge on this subject. As I will soon be interviewing PSU students on this subject I felt that I really needed at least some background knowledge. To start off I did a basic Google search on “Hiking in the White Mountains”. This search termed ended up being very valuable as I found tons of websites. The first site I stumbled upon was http://www.visitwhitemountains.com/. This site turned out to be extremely valuable. From hiking trails to ATV tours this site offered valuable information on the main attractions and trails within the White Mountains. This gave me knowledge on what the trails in the White Mountains are like and also how there are different recreational activities at different skill levels for everyone. Next site I visited was http://www.outdoors.org/. Here I received a ton of information on easy to experience level hiking, biking, and canoeing. After reading about all of these trails in NH I wanted to see what the trails and experience where like. Here I turned yet again to YouTube. Not to my surprise I found loads of hiking videos as well as other recreational videos on YouTube. From here I will continue to do more research into recreation in the White Mountains as well as starting to develop interview questions.
Short Video on White Mountain National Forest:
Links to sites visited:
As my research goes on I keep going back to the book Letting Go? To gather some information on what museums and other historical projects are doing on Web 2.0. One of the articles that stood out to me was the article Listening Intently: Can StoryCorps Teach Museums How to Win the Hearts of Audiences? By Benjamin Filene. In the article Filene goes on to describe fully what StoryCorps is. As a reader I had no real knowledge of StoryCorps. As I kept reading on I learned that StoryCorps is a radio show that is broadcast throughout the United States. In the show they tell the story of everyday Americans through interviews. All of the interviews gets archived and some make it onto the broadcast. After StoryCorps kicked off it became an instant hit. Filene then goes on to discuss if this method of story-telling is good and if it would work in a museum setting. After reading this article I brainstormed on the same idea. Overall I think hearing people’s stories is an interesting aspect that could get explored more in a museum setting.
Also the article Public Curation: From Trend to Research-Based Practice by Tom Satwicz and Kris Morrissey gave me tons of information on how Web 2.0 projects as well as Public Curation has become serious research topics that go beyond just being a trend and is now something that a majority of museums are trying. In this article it also mentioned the website InformalSciene.org. InformalScience.org is a website that has articles about different projects museums and other educational outlets are doing as well as evaluations on the projects. Here I found tons of information on projects museums were doing that involved the internet, facilitated learning and even video games. As there is so many projects to go through I will continue to revisit this site to learn more about some of the projects that are going on around the country that museums are doing.
Links to Sites Visited: