Raising Awareness

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Use of Blogs in Museums

About This Document

This document gives ideas for using blogs to enhance services provided by museums.

Blog Can Enhance A Museum's Image

Museums cannot afford to ignore the community they service. They no longer simply provide a repository of artifacts. Museums need to be seen to serve the community by engaging with the public. Blogs provide an excellent tool for doing this.

Blogs Differ From The Museum's Web Site

Blogs typically have a different style from the museum's institutional Web site. They often do not use an institutional tone of voice but are conversational and personal and may consist of many contributors' voices.

The institution's Web site is normally accessed for informational purposes, such as factual information about the museum, opening times, access details, etc. Blogs, on the other hand, often provide access to community, which may include museum staff, but also museum visitors and other interested parties. The character of blogs is not necessarily fixed and may evolve depending on the often changing contributors.

Blog posts typically incorporate many links to other blogs, similar interest groups, etc. Such links can also include slide shows, videos on YouTube links, games, and other resources.

Since blogs often have the voice of the enthusiast and encourage discussion and debate they may be more trusted that conventional marketing-focussed Web sites.

Blogs Can Complement The Museum's Web Site

Blogs can add depth and richness to museums' descriptions by providing contextual information ("How this exhibition came to be) or a new angle ("Techniques in hanging the new exhibition").

Blogs can provide an opportunity to get to know the experts ("Day in the life of the education outreach coordinator) or engage with them ("How are works of art lent to other institutions?"). They can build a new audience, often younger ("We would like to see this type of event happening here").

Blogs can provide new and fresh content on a regular basis ("Charlie Watts seen in the museum looking closely at the Rubens").

Blogs Are About Communication

Blogs can create a environment of person to person communication by seeking opinions, ideas and feedback and by encouraging the visitors to participate and contribute ("What we think of the new exhibition") and share experiences ("This series of lectures is great, what do you think?").

By responding to comments the museum is seen to be listening to its public ("What a good idea to stock this in the shop"). This can help to create an atmosphere of openness and trust.

Problems And Solutions

There can sometimes be opposition from management or colleagues within the organisation. Why is this and what solutions may there be?

The use of social media in a museum's context is concerned with releasing control and ensuring that knowledge is not only in the hands of the curators. However there are many examples of the public contributing additional and hitherto unknown information about a museum object. The advice: "Just relax and try it!".
Maintaining blogs can be seen as a drain on resources, both human and financial. However, a system of regular contributors who post their own articles in a structured schedule only require overseeing. Each deals with their own related comments. The technology can be cheap. Advice on best practices for using blogs (and other Web 2.0 technologies) is available from the UKOLN Web site [1].
There may be difficulties in finding contributors within the museum. Look wider - children who use the educational facilities, local artists who come for inspiration, the people who serve in the cafe, Friends, Trustees. This provides a variety of different voices and engages new communities.


  1. Briefing Documents for Cultural Heritage Organisations, UKOLN,


This briefing document was written by Ingrid Beazley, Dulwich Picture Gallery based on a Blogging workshop facilitated by Brian Kelly (UKOLN) and Mike Ellis (Eduserve) at the Museums and the Web 2008 conference.

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