This week’s recordings about Pinterest inspired me to take a closer look at some of the features and what the site has to offer. Because I am hoping to do an internship at an art museum in the fall (which does not have a Pinterest account) I decided to look at what other art museums are doing on Pinterest.
Top 5 Reasons for Art Museums to be on Pinterest:
1) Exhibits–The most obvious factor is that Pinterest is all about visuals so what better way to showcase an institution’s collection? By setting up different boards, it’s easy to highlight different exhibitions as well as archive past exhibitions and even give a preview of what’s coming up.
2) Self promotion–Some museums also have a board that shows off the actual building itself since so many of these places are architecturally interesting. If you’ve ever visited the Getty in southern CA or the Met in NYC in person, you’ll know what I mean.
3) Raise revenue—Many museums have great gift shops with an eclectic range of goods on offer. By pinning images of these items to a board you can encourage visits to the online store. If you track which items get the most comments, likes or re-pins it can also be a good indicator of what’s popular.
4) Connect to similar institutions—many of the smaller museums have a niche collection or specialty they cover. By creating a board of recommendations about other similar venues, the museum is fostering a sense of community within its own realm and also assisting visitors in their exploration and research.
5) Endless possibilities—some museums have collaborative boards and encourage the public to pin images with questions, comments, or just because they like something. This is a great way to foster a relationship with patrons. Other museums have boards that spin-off from the main exhibits such as related resources for children, or arts and crafts ideas.
Obviously there are tons of examples and you can get lost for hours exploring Pinterest sites. Here’s just a few that I thought were interesting:
a) Large institution: LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art. http://pinterest.com/lacma/
This site has over 30 boards and over 10,000 followers. I took a closer look at just one of the boards “Mothers” which itself has 18 pins and almost 3000 followers! I find these numbers amazing! I noticed that a couple of the images had comments. Someone had asked where the picture was taken and someone from the museum had replied. All of the images were open to comment. I think this aspect is interesting because you would think there would be much more spam/off-topic comments but there are actually very few comments currently. I also had the option to repin images, follow the board and “like” it. It’s really useful to be able to follow favorite boards so you don’t have to keep checking back for new content.
b) Smaller institution: Pequot Museum – Mashantucket, CT – “The Largest Native American Museum in the World”. http://pinterest.com/pequotmuseum/
655 followers 9 pins. I chose to look at this museum because it’s smaller than the big name institutions and I’m also interested in the subject matter. Although this site does not appear to be currently active I still found it useful. One thing that struck me is the strong focus on the museum itself – it’s buildings, exhibits, events and even the gardens. There are no boards that solely feature a collection other than works used in exhibits. This is a bit different from the way other museums are using Pinterest. It’s a great way to promote the institution and helps give virtual viewers a sense of the place and the kinds of activities going on.
c) Just for fun: The Louvre, Paris. http://pinterest.com/museedulouvre/
An interesting example of where the board featuring the actual museum itself has the most number of pins and repins.
As just these few examples show, Pinterest can be a wonderful tool for showcasing collections, drawing in new visitors and for creating outreach to whole new audiences.