#MuseumWeek on Twitter – what’s the point?

The last few days have seen Twitter alive with activity centred on museums, with the 2015 #MuseumWeek hashtag providing an opportunity to celebrate culture using images, videos and a maximum of 140 characters.


This Twitterstorm in a teacup may seem a bit pointless to some, but it’s difficult to fully appreciate the value of social media until you really use it and experience the benefits first hand.

That’s why this year’s NatSCA conference ‘Museums Unleashed’ is partly about getting everyone up to speed with what’s out there, how it works, and what people are using it for – to make sure that our members aren’t left behind as the museum sector increasingly embraces the digital age.


Social media provides an incredibly powerful medium for communicating with other subject specialists, and it also provides a mechanism for developing genuine dialogue with audiences. Hashtags like #MuseumMonday and #FossilFriday allow objects from behind the scenes to be shared around the world quickly and easily, bringing otherwise hidden collections into the public consciousness.

The playful and informal nature of these online interactions may be a significant departure from the authoritative and reserved image projected by some museums, perhaps causing a little discomfort for some, but that informal interaction is the very thing that makes social media such a fantastic mechanism for developing dialogue and bouncing ideas between peers.

Finally, it never pays to underestimate the power of the public as advocates for your collections. A museum with a facilitative approach to social media in its gallery spaces can benefit from the buzz created by people wanting to create and curate their own digital content, inspiring others to visit and generating a deeper interest in the museum’s activities – with minimal input required from staff.

I strongly suggest that you take a look at the various interesting subthemes within #MuseumWeek to see if you can contribute. Today is #familyMW, Saturday is #favMW (for your favourites) and Sunday is #poseMW (maybe put that selfie stick to good use?), so you still have time to get your phone out and get involved!

NatSCA Digital Digest

Welcome to the weekly digest of posts from around the web with relevance to natural science collections. We hope you find this useful and if you have any articles that you feel would be of interest, please contact us at blog@natsca.org

1. Social Media: Museum Week on Twitter

24th to 30th March 2014


Museums across Europe are using the hashtag #MuseumWeek on twitter all this week. The aim is to improve the social media presence of museums by encouraging dialogue between both museums and the public, and between museum professionals. Alongside the weeklong hashtag #MuseumWeek there are individual daily themes, the remaining of which are as follows:

Thursday #BehindTheArt

Friday #AskTheCurator

Saturday #MuseumSelfies

Sunday #GetCreative

Everyone is encouraged to join in all week.

2. Blog: Work Experience from the Dinosaur Isle Museum

Alex Peaker, Dinosaur Isle Museum, Isle of Wight, and Emma Bernard, Natural History Museum, London


Alex Peaker is a curator at the Dinosaur Isle Museum on the Isle of Wight. He recently came to London to work with Emma Bernard, a curator at the NHM, for a week. Bernard begins the blog by talking of how important it is to maintain communications between museum professionals, and seeking help and advice from others when needed. Peaker describes his role at the Dinosaur Isle Museum and explains how invaluable the time he spent at the NHM was to him.


Editor5807. Image free from copyright

Dinosaur Isle Museum, Isle of Wight. The building was designed to look like a huge Pterosaur. Image by Editor5807

3. Training: British Council – UCL Museum Training School

British Council and University College London


The closing date for applications to the British Council and UCL Museum Training School is 18th April. There are four courses to choose from, or you can register for multiple courses. They are:

How to build local, national and international partnerships
How to develop exhibitions
How to develop a schools and learning programme
How to develop community engagement programmes



The next post is a bit harrowing, so here is a baby rhino playing to start you off on a high. (C) Emma-Louise Nicholls

4. Blog: Objects Safe After Cuming Museum Fire

Patrick Steel, Museums Association


Cuming Museum in London was struck by fire in March of last year, in which ‘two of three displays were lost’. One year on, Steel reports on the current location of the collections and the status of the Museum. The blog looks at how many specimens were lost and what types of conservation procedures were required for those that were damaged.


5. Survey: Testing the European Competency Framework for VET Collections Management

EU Leonardo project, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

A request from the Project:

‘In the EU Leonardo project ‘Testing the European Competency Framework for VET Collections Management’ (EUColComp), the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) is responsible for WP 2 “Research training needs and stakeholder analysis”.  This 2-year project is coordinated by NHM London and started October 2013.

A  questionnaire to inventory past and present training resources in conservation and care of natural history collections, available in Europe (and beyond) is online at:


The results of the survey will be used to develop a ‘Vocational Education and Training’ curriculum to assist staff in developing the appropriate competencies.

If you provide training in the field of natural history collections conservation and care or if you are aware of training others provide, please spare 5 min of your time to help gather this valuable information.

Many thanks for your help with this!
Kind regards,
The EUColComp team

a Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation funded project’


Compiled by Emma-Louise Nicholls, NatSCA Blog Editor

NatSCA Digital Digest

Welcome to the weekly digest of posts from around the web with relevance to natural science collections. We hope you find this useful and if you have any articles that you feel would be of interest, please contact us at blog@natsca.org

1. Blog: Knowledge Network

Paolo Viscardi, Deputy Keeper of Natural History at Horniman Museum


Looking at Subject Specialist Networks and how this type of inter-museum communication can improve the sector as a whole. An ‘open line of communication’ encourages a quality control that is standard throughout museums, and allows for the incorporation of discussion with non museum based academics. The success of SSNs centres on workshops and conferences though time and money make these logistically difficult. Suggestions are made regarding solving these issues to perpetuate the benefit museums receive via SSNs.


For your pleasure… A sloth bear skull, Melursus ursinus. Specimen LDUCZ-Z1637. (C) UCL Grant Museum

2. Blog: Museum Training for the World

Edmund Connolly, British Council-UCL Museum Training School Coordinator


The British Council and University College London have joined forces to launch the Museum Training School. Based in a variety of museums and galleries across London, this school will give early career museum professionals the opportunity to meet with staff from across the sector, and aims to arm attendees with the necessary skills to ensure ‘sustainability and growth’ of collections, galleries and museums for the future.


3. Event: How Museums Can Contribute to Wellbeing

One day event in Newcastle Upon Tyne


This event is aimed at a range of museum staff such as curators, managers, and those involved in education and outreach. it will look at how museums can focus on wellbeing and use it as a tool in relationships and collaborations with external organisations. It will also investigate ways of securing funding, building on the foundations of wellbeing as a concept.


For further pleasure, the sloth bear skull from an exciting angle. Specimen LDUCZ-Z1637. (C) UCL Grant Museum

4. Event: Museum Week on Twitter

Contacts are @TwitterUK or museumweekuk@twitter.com


The 24th to 30th March is Museum Week on Twitter. The main hashtag #MuseumWeek will be the umbrella tag that will run all week long. Aside from this, there will be a specific theme, and relevant hashtag, each day, centred on topics related to museum and collections. It will be an opportunity to showcase parts of museums and collections that would otherwise not be accessible to the public. It also aims to give museum staff the chance to interact with each other through Twitter, and for both professionals and the general public to engage.

For more information, please contact Twitter on the above email or Twitter handle.

Compiled by Emma-Louise Nicholls, NatSCA Blog Editor