PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Science museums in a social media age
A discussion about taking part in Museum Week 2015

Renata Fontanetto  

Seven days, seven hashtag-themes, more than 2800 institutions taking part in a huge virtual encounter at Twitter. Created in 2014, Museum Week (MW) aimed to gather cultural institutions in Europe via the microblog, becoming an excellent opportunity to establish an interactive relationship with followers, attract new publics and open a space of mutual exchange between museums. In 2015, the goal was even bigger: turning it into a worldwide event. Brazil played an important role with 66 participants, being Museum of Life - a hands-on science museum located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - one of them. Science, health, history, culture, architecture and curious facts were the bets of the Museum of Life for MW, contributing for the total number of 180.105 tweets obtained by MW after the whole week. The number of Museum of Life new followers was three times bigger compared with the week previous to event (72 x 23); visitors did participate by sending pictures of their favorite places or visitation moments and even the staff contributed with publicizing the hashtags and bringing new ideas and contents; and institutional network strengthened. It must be highlighted that the participation in the event, mainly focused on cultural museums, made the Museum of Life achieve some inclusion in this other sphere, gaining many new followers of the cultural sector. However, some results pointed out that thinking digitally requires a compromised team - designers, journalists, mediators, reception team etc. - in order to stand the museum out from the tweets crowd. At PCST, we intend to present some of our results, discuss opportunities that were created from events such as Museum Week and foster the debate about the role played by social networks in the dissemination of a science museum.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.