At the end of one year looking ahead at a fresh new one I have found myself reflecting on the trends in the museum world from 2014 that will influence 2015. Here are a few. Feel free to add yours in the comments.
- Less is more
The Brooklyn Museum is probably the best known example of this. They strategically scaled back and refocused their social media efforts based on what was doing well and what wasn’t. Shelley Bernstein explains it well.
- Simpler is Better
The museum rockstar (as he was described to me by fellow museum professionals at my first Museums and the Web conference) Seb Chan hit the nail on the head with his most recent blog post about what he and Aaron Cope did right this past year at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. Two things stood out to me – 1) take the smallest dumbest thing and work from there, don’t overdesign and 2) downgrade the website from Drupal to WordPress to make it more user friendly. The basic principle is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.
There’s been a lot of talk of selfies and their place in museums. That is only part of the change – the bigger picture (pun intended) is that more photography is being allowed in museums. We’re giving up control and it’s a great thing. Ed Rodley has a great discussion of photography on his blog.
- Instagramming the museum
The Met worked with Instagram pro Dave Krugman (@dave.krugman) who got a bunch of Instagram influencers together to photograph the museum after hours using #emptymet which has become a fantastic bit of PR and has grown the museum’s followers on this immensely popular social network. This has started a trend with more institutions joining or planning to join with their own version of the hashtag.
- Social Good
It may be naive of me to think this but it seems like there are big changes happening in society. In the USA it’s Ferguson, here in Canada it is #AmINext, other countries are going through similar things. What is the museum’s role in mediating these societal and cultural issues? Some museum bloggers got together to talk about this recently. Something for us all to explore further this year.
- Museums are cool
I know we all joke about hipsters (my favourite – why did the hipster burn his mouth on coffee? Because he drank it before it was cool) but I have to hope that this trend continues because it has made geek chic and museums are part of that. Hipsters love us and have made us relevant. And let’s be honest, a lot of us probably are inadvertent hipsters.So let’s play to this audience (and in my next trend you’ll see that we are starting).
- Taking ourselves less seriously
The Met’s response to Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” is a perfect example. I love this! We’re moving away from dry stuffy journals to buzzfeed articles and taking part in popular culture.
Also the super awesome Museum Hack people have made museum tours where they aren’t afraid to be a bit scandalous and have fun in the museum. Check out Nina Simon’s interview with Museum Hack’s Dinosaur of Dinosaur Studies Dustin Growick. They have a newsletter for museum professionals which has some great resources like How to Get Easy Local Press for your Museum – scroll down their website and it will give you an option to sign up.
2015 is our year people. Let’s keep making museums more awesome.