Pinterest can be an incredible social media tool for art museums. Creating a board is like curating an exhibit, and it can get people interested in the collection of a museum that they may have never visited before.
I’ve noticed that, for the most part, the Pinterest accounts of art museums can fall into one of two categories. Let’s give them the generic titles of “traditional” and “creative.”
The Indianapolis Museum of Art takes a more traditional route by creating boards based on artistic style or culture, with such simple categorization as “African Art” or “European Painting and Sculpture.” Using Pinterest like this can almost be a replacement for an online archive, and a more interactive one at that. Users can scroll through a museum’s collection as if they’re walking through an exhibit, re-pinning and liking along the way. But most museums already have an online archive — if people want to simply look through a museum’s collection, they’ll probably go to the website, not Pinterest. Pinterest should offer some exclusive, unique content, something other than what’s already available.
The Met takes a different route by creating boards based on a theme, allowing for boards that aren’t limited by any one particular style or culture. They highlight and connect works based on themes such as various emotions, animals, seasons, or even body parts (I’m looking at you, “The Nose”). Pinterest accounts with quirkier, interesting, topic-based boards probably get more repins or likes than the more traditional ones. Using this style can really show off a museum’s personality and humanize them to a great public.
While the traditional route definitely has its merits, I have to say that I’m a bigger fan of the “creative” style. The museum I interned with over the summer used this style, and one of my first Pinterest assignments was to walk around the museum looking for any and all artworks that had a man with a mustache and create a board titled “From Our ‘Stache.” Linking works from different cultures and eras through a fun or quirky topic is a cool way to keep your audience interested and engaged.