Making it FAIR case study: Museum of Scottish Railways

The Making it FAIR project was developed in response to challenges faced by smaller museums struggling to engage online with audiences during lockdown, and beyond. Eight small museums worked with a range of partners including Culture24, Collections Trust and The Audience Agency to explore and develop their digital content and storytelling with collections. Over five months, each museum experimented with new ideas, approaches, processes and, where relevant, technical solutions, to help them build digital skills and to create engaging, relevant, fit-for-purpose digital content.

This is one of a set of eight case studies. You can find a summary of all of the Making it FAIR project case studies here.

Jump to

What did you want to find out? | What did you do? | What were the challenges? | What did you learn? | What’s next? | Top tips and insights

What did you want to find out?

  • How to successfully generate social media content
  • How to maintain active engagement on social media
  • About engaging with existing and new audiences digitally
  • How to create and implement a digital strategy
  • The potential of switching to collections focused story-telling on social media.

What did you do?

  • Wrote a blog featuring one of our vehicles from the collection which we shared on social media channels
  • Continued to highlight the collection in social media posts.

Below is a screenshot from Museum of Scottish Railways blog post detailing one of their vehicles, a Scottish steam locomotive which ended up in Turkey.

A screenshot from Museum of Scottish Railways' blog, featuring an image of a scottish steam locomotive

What were the challenges?

  • Finding the time to research the blog
  • Finding associated photographs for social media posts
  • Coming up with new content for social media on a weekly basis
  • Keeping positive on social media.

What did you learn?

  • Don’t need to produce large numbers of blogs
  • Don’t need a large number of posts
  • We should focus on quality over quantity
  • People are interested in what we are up to as staff/volunteers.

What’s next?

  • Working with Museum Crush to work on another blog focusing on something a bit different
  • Continue to write collections focused social media posts and not put too much pressure on ourselves to deliver lots of content
  • Work towards a new website and online collections database.

Top tips and insights

  • Make sure that the experiment is achievable – start small and build up
  • Think about content throughout the working day – whatever I was doing I kept thinking would this be interesting to our audience and took photos/videos while I was doing my job, this meant that creating social content was more achievable
  • You don’t need to post something everyday! (I still have to tell myself this).

Funding and partners: Making It FAIR was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Towards a National Collection programme (TaNC) as part of UKRI’s call for COVID-19 projects. The project was led by University of York and partners were Collections Trust, Culture24, Museum of London Archaeology, The Audience Agency, Intelligent Heritage and Knowledge Integration.