How to communicate an specialized exhibition with social media

Best Practice Session
Gema Hernández Carralón, Spain

How to communicate an specialized exhibition with social media: a case stuy

The Museum of the National Library of Spain is a medium-sized museum about the history of the library an its collections and, therefore, about the history of book and communication. It was opened in 1994 and reformed 7 years ago. It receives about 100.000 visitors a year. Mainly young people, students and children.

Although it is mostly a permanent exhibition, it offers 3 or 4 temporary exhibitions per year as a way to dynamize and enhance community engagement. In the past 7 years we have had the possibility of checking the different reception of exhibitions in society according to their subjects. Whilst an exhibition about Raquel Meller, a famous singer who won international fame in the 1920s and 1930s, was very succesful even before being inaugurated, others about architecture or, for instance, the poet Carolina Coronado were not so popular.

In the year between october of 2012 and october of 2013 we had a pair of exhibitions about two very different architectural subjects. Both of them  beginning in the week of the World Architecture Day and both with the architect Pedro Moleón Gavilanes as curator: “De pasadizo a palacio. Las casas de la Biblioteca Nacional”

and “Arquitectos españoles del siglo XX. Donaciones” Is a fact that architecture fails to communicate to society and, more surprisingly most architects and experts are not aware about such kind of exhibitions in their own town.

In order to communicate the first one, we used traditional methods as leaflets, the National Library of Spain website, supporting activities as lectures, film series, or contests for different kinds of visitors and specially the Twitter account of the museum (@BNE_museo) with the support of the main account of the National Library of Spain (@BNE_biblioteca). Doing it, we realized the importance of the critical mass of architecture on social media in Spain, as a result of a traditionally very self-conscious and coporative profession and, more recently, due to the crisis of the sector provocated by the sudden end of the speculative building, and the increasing number of young architects that can not practice in the way they where supossed to before the crisis. In such a way we began to individualize the more important and influent blogs, accounts, ‘gourous’, opinion streams, ecc. of the sector.

In this proccess, we enhanced community engagement with those main architectural bloggers by sharing opinions, links, images and creating interactions. Then, for the new architectural exhibition we had managed to gather new followers between architects’ accounts that otherwise would not follow us, as a generalist account, as we are, with a bias to specialization in librarian and book subjects, cultural heritage and non-formal education.

Finally, we programmed some activities connected to the exhibition run by architects with good positioning, such as @basurama or @urbanohumano for example, the round-table ‘Palabra de arquitecto: el ámbito digital, ¿un nuevo espacio para la crítica arquitectónica?’

about architectural  criticism with five important bloggers under the #palabradarq hashtag. It could be attended by streaming and had an enormous impact and collected very good critics in social media reaching over 1 million Twitter accounts according to Tweetbinder.