Alison Clague #UKMW15

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Text of Alison Clague #UKMW15

  • BRIDGING GAPS, MAKING CONNECTIONSUKMW15 Museums on the Web

  • CCCC 2 year ACE funded project exploring different ways to make our collections accessible through digital means. The project was made up of a number of pilot projects including 3d scanning, augmented reality, learning and engagement and digital collections presentations

    Why Fashion at a NatSCA conference? While we hold extensive Natural Life collections, these were not the focus of pilot projects. However, the reasoning behind this project and the what we carried out could be translated to Natural Science collections.

    Tis presentation could provide inspiration and ideas for similar projects to engage new audiences with Natural Science collections.*

  • Bridging the gapExploring new ways to engage new audiences with Leicestershires collections

    Background local authority service, financial savings, reduction in staffing and museum offer.

    Over the past two years Leicestershire County Council has been exploring how it can use digital to increase engagement with its museum collections through the Click; Connect; Curate; Create project. We werent prescriptive in what we meant by digital and delivered pilot projects ranging from publishing collections content on different online platforms, trialling augmented reality with wearable tech, training curatorial staff in photogrammetry techniques to developing a social media strategy. For us it wasnt about chasing innovation but developing an understanding of how we can make best use of digital tools and technologies to provide access to our collections. This presentation will look at the challenges we faced, what we produced and what we are doing to make these sustainable with the limited resources that we have.

    The Click; Connect; Curate; Create project helped us to navigate the increasingly digital museum environment by bringing in external expertise to a local authority service without specific digital teams. It bridged the gap of knowledge and understanding internally, as well as between our collections and audiences.

    3 Strands

    Knowledge Centre Projects inlcudingDigital Touch Project creating a high quality replica object which can reveal its story when touchedSTEM digital outreach research reportSTEM digital outreach pilot

    Guest Curator Projects includingLeicestershire Fashion in Detail -

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  • Guest CuratorsCurate and publish a series of images as digital exhibitions that would be published on social media platforms

    Used Tumblr and Google Open Gallery

    Guest Curator project: Fashion Details

    Commissioned dress historian Clare Bowyer to curate a series of close up images of objects in the Leicestershire Costume Collection. She was provided over 250 images and was tasked to theme them and write a narrative for each theme and each narrative. Some very basic, some more descriptive. Had a series of existing close up images of the items from fashion collection and instead of creating new content we wanted to use what we already had. To note none of the images were labelled according to a DAM strategy, so I had to spend a month in the frock box identifying the garments from the images and noting down the labels and then updating all the meta information on each of the images. This took another month

    We gave these images to Clare Bowyer and commissioned her to group the images into themes and write narrative for each theme and image according to that theme. The final exhibition would be published on social media channels and potentially our own picture library.

    This was an experiment!

    This then formed part of my research question for Culture 24s Lets Get Real Action Research: Is your content fit for purpose?

    Increase the presence of the collection on the webin order to;

    Promote and encourage the sharing of our imagesin order to;

    Increase the visibility of our picture libraryas well as;

    Increase enquiries to the Collections Resource Centre

    We are in the process of exploring how we can "create an exciting brand online" - this question will allow us to test (hopefully) which platforms and editorial text works best on presenting collections information in order to increase engagement with collections. *

  • Why social media?We wanted to be where our audiences were

    Why social media?

    Initially we were planning to use our online collections database as our platform for publishing digital exhibitions but as our projects were developing we were told that it had to be taken down due to security issues (it was set up in 2001). We had just launched a picture library but we didnt want to conflate its purpose of primarily being an image selling platform so we decided to explore using social media platforms.

    By using social media platforms were putting content right in front of potential audiences instead of expecting them to come find us

    Initially we were going to use to Flickr or Pinterest as our baseline but decided after researching other platforms we would publish on tumblr first and push out to other platforms. We hadnt used tumblr before so it was good platform to test new content, there was already a fashion following on this platform so thought it was a good place to start. (TBH land of GIFS and Ryan Gosling Arts Administrator)

    We also knew that a lot of our fashion items were being pinned or posted to tumblr already (from our now defunct Collections Online and new picture library) and wanted to encourage this behaviour. The more people get our images out there the more people are aware of our collection. On our picture the library the biggest referrers of traffic are from special interest sites (Foundations Revealed to the Symington Collection) and the Transport/Railway Archive (Newton Railway Collection) but these were results of existing partnerships and wanted to see what could get out there.

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  • High engagement rate

    Increase in social media referrals to main sites

    Other platforms didnt perform so well

    What happened?

    Since the project started 8th October

    We have posted 200 images and received 946 notes likes and reblogs from 780 curators users - And we have 134 followers

    This is an average post engagement rate of 477.8% and a 121.28% fan engagement rate who knows if this is good compared to tumblr but based on other social media accounts and percentage views on picture library to us its brilliant

    Another thing we tried to do is to link back to either the collection if its online or to the museum site and as a result or social media referrals increased not just from our own accounts but from people visiting from other tumblrs. 4% to picture library (20% of this comes from other peoples tumlbr), 3% to main website (75% came from other tumblrs) only after the project

    Our most popular post has recieved 193 notes (109 likes, 84 reblogs) and continues to do so even though it was posted in November

    Tags seem to be the most important: historic fashion, lace and net (our own), symington corsets, black

    Deep engagement - 8 images have been pinned to pinterest from the tumblr with only 1 with edited text and 4 repinned (only through pinterest)

    Also posted to Pinterest own board has had no engagement Instagram has been a lot more difficult in posting (needing to use my own device). Popular images on tumblr dont seem to have as much success on instagram. A total of 16 engagements across 9 postsFacebook Linked posting on Facebook first to CCCC (not many likes) then to Snibston Fashion Collections 293% engagement (30 posts, 87 engagements likes, shares and comments only)Twitter - None*

  • What we learnedExperimentation is key

    Its about engagement not broadcasting

    Digital vs Physical

    What have I learnt

    Fundamentally with all social media its about being discoverable and for us on tumblr its about (first of all) having the right tags and then having users to reblog/like your posts so it appears on their profile. Knowing what the rights tags to use is difficult but from what weve found out, descriptive tags work best. Do your own research on what you think are popular tags, then look at what other tags have been used for that post Im not sure if theres a science to it really. Have found it really difficult to measure discoverability, it seems to be all about the tags but Ive not been able to work out which tags have resulted in engagement and which havent. But know what you want when working with external partner feedback from GC has been they wished we had been clearer from the start about what we wanted but flexibility of project was help.

    Also

    Alongside this project we commissioned a digital comms agency to develop a social media strategy for the service, its biggest observation of our activities is that we needed to move away from just broadcasting on social media to engaging with audiences. As audiences get bored easily and tune out to all the come here come here noise on accounts, this type of project can offer another avenue for audiences to engage with you. These may not physical audiences but we now have people all over the world engaging with our collections who never would have had the chance.

    This account has had higher engagement rates than any of other social media platforms.

    Corset and historic fashion are our most popular content. Ive used unionmetrics as well as GA and tumblrs own analytics to monitor usage.

    There are some strange profiles on tumblr image based social media is more likely to be allowed than other platforms (if you have issues with that)*

  • What Next?More content

    Other collections + New platforms

    Social Media Strategy

    What Next?

    Were going to develop Leicestershire Fashion in Detail into t