On September 18, 622 museums from 37 countries participated in #AskACurator, a day-long Twitter event that sought to engage curators of art, science, and history with people interested in those topics.
Although it’s been around for a few years, this was the first year I’ve been exposed to #AskACurator Day. Being a fan of museums, it was so incredibly cool to see both diehard museum lovers and casual museum visitors have the opportunity to talk to curators. It’s a fantastic way to highlight the people who bring us the exhibits we love, as well as get some insight into how a museum runs.
From a PR standpoint, it was fascinating to see the levels of engagement museums received in just one day. Mar Dixon, the woman behind #AskACurator Day, said on her blog that 27,311 tweets were posted with the hashtag “AskACurator” on September 18, reaching 439.8 million users.
The #AskACurator movement created a web of communication lines that went beyond just curators and museum visitors. Artists, art critics and journalists, educators, and museum employees all got in on the action. As I scrolled through the #AskACurator tag that day, I was exposed to dozens of new museums and, because of the way they handled the event, I’m now following them and taking interest in what they’re doing. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I wish #AskACurator wasn’t just once a year. While it might be difficult to ask busy curators to set aside full workdays to answer questions on Twitter, it’s a fantastic way to get people interested in your museum. The big lesson here is that you shouldn’t shy away from letting other museum employees take over the Twitter account for the day and engage your audience in a fun, educational way.