#музейнаягостиная / #museumsalon – Twitter project from Russia

Best Practice Session
Anna Mikhaylova, the UK

The State Historical museum is one the biggest museums in Russia. It is located on the Red Square in Moscow.

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The museum started using social media in 2010, however there was no clear understanding of how to do this and why. During the first 3 years it was a kind of “copy-paste” activity without any interaction with the audience. At the end of 2012 the situation changed dramatically. The Ministry of Culture asked museums to provide analytics about how they use social media. And the new era has begun.

The IT department of the museum formed a team responsible for social media. During the spring 2013 social media strategy was developed. The team was inspired by Tate policy and used the guidelines published on the Tate’s website.

In September the Historical museum took part in the Ask a Curator day (among 6 other Russian museums).

Today the museum has 5 channels (at the moment we publish in Russian only, however, we’re going to start publishing in English in January 2014):

Social networks are really popular among Russian people; however, it is still a challenge to make them interact with museums. As we can see from our experience, people prefer talking to the museum on Twitter (at the moment we have 63 000 followers there). So we decided to start a Twitter project which would help us to build a friendly and comfortable environment in order to have a dialogue with our audience.

The project I would like to present is entitled #музейнаягостиная which means #museumsalon.

The idea is to bring together museum curators and the audience and discuss one particular topic during 1 hour (sometimes, 2 hours). We usually do that session during the weekend in the evening, when most people are at home and ready to spend some time following the conversation.This session also includes museum lottery: we present tickets to the current exhibitions.

On December 29th we invited the State Museum of the History of Religion (based in St Petersburg) to participate at #музейнаягостиная. We talked about New Year celebration in different cultures. Both museums got new followers during this session. What is more important is that we were able to talk to people: ask questions, provoke discussions etc. It was the first time when two Russian museums organized such an event on Twitter.

You can check the session on Storify website. We’ve just started using this service, so we need more time to make our page looks nice.

During the lightning talk I would like to present this project, share some outcomes and invite European museums to participate in it.

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