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.
What did you want to find out?
- How to more effectively use our social media platforms
- How to make the best use of our time and resources
- How to start a better collections based conversation with existing and new audiences.
What did you do?
- We experimented with selecting our content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to target specific audiences
- We experimented with Instagram Reels, several different formatted podcasts(interviews, collections etc), hashtag and hashtag feeds
- We explored analytics to get a better understanding of our audiences
- We tried to use a content management system to organise our content.
Below is a screenshot from Tenby Museum & Art Gallery’s Instagram account, featuring a video highlighting an audio clip from their podcast.
What were the challenges?
- Content management – linking social media sites that refused to talk to each other!
- Integrating analytics into our content
- Being closed made access to the collections tricky!
- Time management (to start with).
What did you learn?
- Time management!
- How Instagram works
- How to podcast and edit content, use music etc
- Use different social media streams to target more specific audiences
- Damascus moment – social media not as frightening as we first feared.
- Continue on the same path – more experimenting (particularly with Reels and videos), more targeting of audiences, more using the collections to develop a dialogue with our users
- Create digital policy as part of Forward Plan
- Encourage trustees to take on digital work
- Look at KickStart scheme to bring on board someone to concentrate on digital and social media
- New website!
Top tips and insights
- Don’t over stress; have a plan; don’t be afraid to experiment (as Samuel Becket said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”).
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.