Getting museums and galleries together using Facebook in the West Midlands

How are museums using social networks? How can they best use them to reach existing and new audiences?

I’m working with Renaissance West Midlands to find out how museums, galleries, libraries and archives can make best use of the latest online social networking networks.

I’m working with Linda Spurdle of Renaissance West Midlands on the project, along with Onyemachi Shekeri from BMAG. “We are very keen to speak to people in the West Midlands who want to get their museum or culture venue into social network sites like Facebook and MySpace,” said Linda Spurdle, who is Hub Online Resources Manager.

“If you’ve already done it, let’s hear how it went. If you’re thinking about doing it, let’s get together to help each other.”

The short action research project we’ve come up with actually works through online social networks themselves, building activity, making links, joining networks, evaluating the systems through practical use.

We’ve already started working on the project following a project kick off meeting in Birmingham on November 12. We’re currently pulling together the htreads of the project and we’ll doing a lot more during the rest of November and the first week of December 2008.

Then the results will be presented at an informal event in a West Midlands museum in the week beginning December 15, 2008. Venue for the event has yet to be finalised, but either the Potteries Museum or Coventry have been mentioned.

A web page summing up the research and recognising the outcomes of the project will be published on the Renaissance West Midlands website –

Questions this project examines include: How can museums use social network sites to reach new audiences? What are the dos and don’ts of Facebook use by culture venues and staff? How much time does it take to maintain Facebook presence?

Projected outcomes might include:

  • An increase in the number of WM museums, galleries, libraries and archives with a social networking presence
  • Increased staff awareness of what these networks do, what they are best at.
  • Informal IT skill sharing
  • Network building – real and virtual
  • A permanent web record of the research mounted on the WM hub pages online

It’s always a pleasure working in Brum: I’ve got strong links with the region (I was born and brought up in the Midlands) and over the last few years I’ve built up good relationships with the West Midlands Hub through several 24 Hour Museum partnerships – like the student placement projects we carried out over the last three years.

More details about project progress will follow on this site.




About Jon Pratty

Human - for now
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3 Responses to Getting museums and galleries together using Facebook in the West Midlands

  1. Pingback: Not getting together? Museums and Social Networking in the Midlands « jon pratty/machine culture

  2. Linda Ellis says:

    So how are you getting on with your research Jon, are there any comments you could pots here or is it confidential?

  3. Jon Pratty says:

    Hi Linda

    This is turning out to be really interesting work – it’s impact reaches beyond working with audiences towards the wider strategic and technological environment. I have been doing some low level interviewing of people in the region with a view to evidencing my research. Linda Spurdle at BMAG has funded it, so it’s content that will go on the Renaissance West Midlands website first, rather then here.

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