National History Day. Image by Keith Jenkins.

Podcast – “History Explorer Meet Our Museum: National History Day”

presentations

Learn what it takes to develop a great National History Day project from some museum staff members who have judged the national level in the past. National History Day is an annual competition that engages students in the past through their own well-researched projects.

[ul style=”10″]
[li]Listen to the podcast (Interview with Dana Allen-Greil about what makes a good Web project begins at 15:30.)[/li]
[li]Check out some of the student Web entries from the 2011 National History Day competition.[/li]
[/ul]

Social Media and Organizational Change

blog, papers & publications

This paper was originally published for Museums and the Web 2011. It was co-authored by Dana Allen-Greil, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, USA; Susan Edwards and Jack Ludden, J. Paul Getty Trust, USA; and Eric Johnson, Monticello, USA. (See citation and Creative Commons information.)

Abstract

Social media are altering how museums interact with the public. But how are they affecting the ways that museum professionals approach their jobs? How are large organizations dealing with new pressures for a more nimble, experimental approach to content creation, and a more personal level of engagement with staff? How do museums manage the ‘brand’ with so many people creating content, while also being flexible and bringing out the many voices in an institution? With the authors’ multiple perspectives, this paper highlights some of the ways that social media are changing the ways that staff communicate and work together, and addresses issues such as whether to distribute management of social media content across an organization or to centralize efforts; how to find tactics for educating and training staff about what social media are; and how social media can further the mission, set new expectations for current staffing positions held within the museum, and promote a cultural shift that embraces collaborative, agile ways of interacting with our peers and our audiences.

Keywords: social media, leadership, management, strategy, organizational structure

Podcast: O Say Can You Sing? YouTube Contest

blog

The Smithsonian’s first YouTube contest was created to dispel the notion that history is boring and to engage people with the story of their flag and national anthem. After being closed for nearly 2 years of renovations, the museum was looking to make a splash with the debut of a state-of-the-art home exhibition for the Star-Spangled Banner. Partnering with USA WEEKEND for marketing muscle, we received over 800 eligible entries and thousands of people rated and commented on their favorite singers. The grand-prize winner performed at the museum and at the Orioles game in Baltimore on Flag Day.

This project won an American Association of Museums Gold MUSE Award for outstanding achievement in museum media in the category “Community.”

Listen to a podcast interview of me by Jonathan Finkelstein of LearningTimes for MuseumTimes.org.

Evaluating Social Media

presentations
How to navigate a sea of social media technologies and begin to measure success. This presentation explores planning for implementation, developing metrics, defining success, measuring costs and benefits, and applying lessons learned to other online and offline efforts.
American Association of Museums Annual Meeting May 2010. Session panel included Angelina Russo, Associate Professor, Swinburne University Faculty of Design.

Small Towns and Big Cities: How Museums Foster Community On-line

blog, papers & publications

This paper was originally published for Museums and the Web 2010. (See citation and Creative Commons information.)

Abstract

The early years of the Internet offered museums new possibilities for reaching broader audiences, and yet the anonymous character of most on-line interaction posed significant challenges for those who sought to foster a sense of community in the digital realm. In recent years, social media and other new tools have enabled museums to more successfully cultivate on-line relationships and even blur the lines between their physical and virtual communities. Borrowing terminology from German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies, this paper uses the archetypal qualities inherent in traditional village life (Gemeinschaft) vs. life in big cities (Gesellschaft) as a framework for understanding museum approaches to on-line community. While the formally constrained (gesellschaft) expert-novice relationship that has so long been the paradigm for museums is still valued, we find compelling reasons to also explore the potential of gemeinschaft “whole person” interactions to change the nature of community relationships with museums. Using this framework, we review examples from the National Museum of American History and other museums using technology to foster community.

Twitter case study: National Museum of American History

papers & publications

Why Twitter? The beginning

It started out as a way to cover live events during the National Museum of American History’s (NMAH) November 2008 reopening weekend. Following a 2-year renovation-related closure, we knew that the museum’s fans were eager to see the doors reopen. Planned festivities included a dedication ceremony with then-President George W. Bush and a ribbon-cutting opening day celebration featuring General Colin Powell (Ret.). We wanted to provide a fan’s-eye view of the celebration even for those who could only join us virtually. We looked to various social media outlets to accomplish this access, launching a new blog, Facebook page, Flickr group, and Twitter account.

The Shorty Awards honor the best people and organizations on Twitter. One NMAH follower shares the reason behind her vote.

Twitter for Museums: Measuring, Analyzing, Reporting

blog, papers & publications

The following was originally published as a chapter in the book, Twitter for Museums.

“Measuring, Analyzing, Reporting”

We’re still in the very early stages of defining success and determining best practices for social media measurement.1 If you’ve already dipped your toe in the Twitter water, you know that riding the swells can be exhilarating. But the dizzying pace and loose structure can also make you feel unanchored, aimless, adrift. An evaluation plan can help you set the course, steer the ship, and eventually earn your sea legs. (Inspiration for the maritime metaphors is courtesy of Twitter’s “failwhale.”)

From Construction Site to Museum: Managing the Opening Process

presentations

Solutions to the challenges of museum building projects, such as determining an opening date, managing staff and board expectations, establishing and managing priorities, and funding. Other topics include getting off on the right foot, dealing with uncertainty, handling delays and cost overruns, and opening with grace.
American Association of Museums Annual Meeting 2009
Session panel included:
  • Judy Gradwohl, Associate Director for Public Programs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institition, Washington, DC
  • Elaine Heumann Gurian, Sr. Museum Consultant, Arlington, VA
  • James Volkert, Exhibition Associate, Exhibition Associates, Conway, AR
  • Dana Allen-Greil, Project Manager, New Media, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC
  • Susan Leidy, Deputy Director, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
Endorsed by:
AAM Museum Management Committee
AAM National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME)
AAM Public Relations and Marketing Committee
AAM Development and Membership Committee
AAM Museum Association Security Committee