Ben Fast

Culture - Community - Museums - Travel

Category: We the Humanities (page 2 of 2)

Posts related to my week as the We the Humanities curator

We the Humanities: Day 2 Recap

**Note: all tweets are still linked to the We the Humanities Twitter account, so the names and pictures will change each week as the account curation rotates to a new user**

Day 2 was all about social media and community outreach.  How do museums reach past their four walls?  Do museums care more for the global visitor or their local community?  What goes into a museum tweet, and does an online presence equal more in-person visitors?  #Followamuseum Day, #MuseumSelfies, @AskaCurator – we’ve all seen the campaigns, but what’s behind them?  Social media can be a great way to engage, but who does the We the Humanities crowd follow?  There’s plenty more involved in social media and community outreach, so let’s get recapping!

So many great suggestions came from this.  The Australian Museum was an early highlight, and they joined us in the discussion too!

The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University was also brought forward as they run a rotating curation account (like We the Humanities), and it turns out the curator this day/week was a former UVic grad like me!

Suggestions also came in for the National History Museum, the Chateau de Versailles, British MuseumNational Museum of Australia, MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, Metropolitan Museum of ArtPOLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Birmingham MuseumsMuseo Histórico Nacional (Chile), the Nicholson Museum, Museum of English Rural Life, and Museum Victoria which was a great example of how museum organizations can also engage with their audience (and their museums’ audiences) through social media.  Museum Victoria is Australia’s largest museum organization and runs several state-level museum venues.  Personally, I like the fact they feature the names of who tweets for them.  That adds a personal level that I find better than just an institutional account.

The suggestion of “@morethanadodo,” the Oxford University Museum of Natural History’s twitter account, sparked a great discussion of tweeting museum objects, what we’d like to see tweet.  Some of these included:

(There had to be a Goldblum reference, you knew it was coming…)

And one from my neck of the woods…

When thinking of objects and characters from museums that aren’t tweeting yet but would make good handles for the future…

Museum bots also became part of the conversation – those accounts that highlight certain artefacts a few times per day.  Museum bots can be people too.

To cap off the day, the We the Humanities account hit a major milestone!  Happy 2,000th follower!

Day 2 at We the Humanities was a lot of fun, and to end the day with such great news was a bonus.  Such great news, in fact, that Day 3 would begin with prizes!  Thanks to all who took part!

We the Humanities: Day 1 Recap

**Note: all tweets are still linked to the We the Humanities Twitter account, so the names and pictures will change each week as the account curation rotates to a new user**

Day 1 at We the Humanities was a short one.  With the time difference from Britain to Victoria and my rescheduled class, the Day 1 discussions about education and programming lasted only about 10 hours, but it was still really interesting!  Here are the highlights:

Anabelle Castaño (from Argentina) shared a really neat programming event from the Museo Etnográfico: touch tours!

This poster shows the most recent event, a 30 minute tour of Chané masks as part of “La Noche de los Museos” similar to Night at the Museum events in Europe but that happened in over 200 institutions across Argentina this year, drawing in over 800,000 VISITORS!  What an amazing event!  It reminded me of seeing this sign at the British Museum during my last trip:Photo 2014-10-16 8 49 05 PM-2

 

There was also a really touching virtual group hug shared between us at We the Humanities, Leah Veazey, and her favourite tweeting museum, the Australian Museum, who Leah claims never misses a Tweet response.  We’ve also established they never sleep.  Awww….

As a personal plug, I shared the Royal BC Museum‘s Creative Collections event which I volunteered at.  This was an exploration of how the museum could be a ‘maker space’ while also engaging it’s audience in a more creative way.  It was the first event of its kind at the museum, or at least for adults, and we learned a lot in putting it on.  Hopefully in the future it can tie into other events where the participants can show off their work, or maybe even have their work displayed in the museum spaces for all to see!

Doing introductions and explaining the idea of a maker space at the RBCM's Creative Collections workshop on 15 November

Doing introductions and explaining the idea of a maker space at the RBCM’s Creative Collections workshop on 15 November

The RBCM's Chris O'Connor showing off some collection pieces to the Creative Collections workshop participants

The RBCM’s Chris O’Connor showing off some collection pieces to the Creative Collections workshop participants

My friend Justine finishing off her creative response, a fictional letter about the collector of the cockroach (in the glass vial). Great idea Justine!

My friend Justine finishing off her creative response, a fictional letter about the collector of the cockroach (in the glass vial). Great idea Justine!

There were plenty of other stories and items shared, but too much to include all in one short blog post.  Follow along with Day 2 over at We the Humanities!

 

We the Humanities Schedule

Hello Twitter friends and followers, and everyone else from across the internet!  This week I’m curating the We the Humanities Twitter account and I’ve got a busy week full of great museum discussions planned.  Check out the schedule below:

Day 1: Education and Programming

Education is a very important role for today’s museum.  Kids, adults, companies, tourists, locals – anybody can learn in a museum or from a museum.  How have you learned in a museum?  What do you think are the most effective learning tools museums employ?  What do museums do right/wrong in learning and programming?  How can museums teach (or learn) better?

Day 2: Community Outreach and Social Media

How do museums reach past their four walls?  Do museums care more for the global visitor or their local community?  What goes into a museum tweet, and does an online presence equal more in-person visitors?  #Followamuseum Day, #MuseumSelfies, @AskaCurator – we’ve all seen the campaigns, but what’s behind them?  Today we’re talking all things outreach, community, and social media.

Day 3: Partnerships and Collaboration

This is especially close to my heart as I’m planning a thesis on museum partnerships and development associations/organizations.  Today I want to talk about how museums work together, work with their communities, and work with museum associations to develop the industry, build capacity, and further their causes.

Day 4: Internships and Professional Development

I’m a student, I’ve been an intern, I will be an intern again!  How can museums foster a new generation of museum workers through education programs, work placements, and PAID internships?  What opportunities exist already, and what needs to be created?  Is it different in Canada than in other parts of the world?  I really want to hear from museums on this one and get the word out for those existing programs.

Day 5: Events

Day 5 relates somewhat to Day 1’s discussion about programming, but what events do museums run?  What works and what doesn’t?  What was your favourite non-traditional museum visit?  How can small museums run successful events without a big museum’s budget?  While we’re at it, any upcoming events you want to share?

Day 6: Exhibits and Technology

Museums today still have collections, and collections go on display in exhibits.  It’s how most people engage with the museum, even with today’s online world.  Right?  …Right?  What has changed in exhibits over the past few decades?  How has technology impacted the way audiences look at (on-site) museum collections?  How does social media come into play?  I’m curious to see if there is a geographical difference (or school) of exhibit design.

Day 7: Recap, general discussion, links and networking

At the end of it all, what have we learned?  We’ve spent a week talking about museums and sharing information across continents, so I’ll recap the highlights, share links you’ve sent it, and we’ll get the old networking machine running before I sign off for the last time.

I’ve got some surprises along the way (dare I say prizes?) as well as links and stories and photos to share with you.  I hope you’ll enjoy this week, and please feel free to go off topic as this is a very flexible schedule meant to guide discussion, not force it.

We the Humanities Museum Worker Survey

Canadian museum, gallery and heritage workers, please help my week as We the Humanities curator by completing this short survey about Canadian heritage institutions.  Thank you!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Press Release: Ben joins We the Humanities

PRESS RELEASE

BEN FAST JOINS WE THE HUMANITIES PLATFORM AS CURATOR

[November 12, Victoria, BC, Canada] — Ben Fast, museum worker and Master of Arts in Tourism Management student, will be joining international humanities Twitter account, We the Humanities, as curator during the week of November 24.

@wethehumanities is a rotation-curation account which offers a central platform for discussion and news of the humanities in all its forms.  It is open to anyone working in or with the humanities in any form, and hopes to follow the success achieved by the science platform, @realscientists.

Ben is a tourism management master’s student at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC on Canada’s west coast.  He has worked in front line positions with museums in Canada (Craigdarroch Castle) and France (Juno Beach Centre) as well as being an events coordinator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.  His past studies in history at the University of Victoria led him to archival work (A City Goes to War) and two years as the founding editor of The Corvette, UVic’s undergraduate peer-reviewed history journal.  He currently volunteers as a “community champion” for events and social media with the Royal BC Museum while starting a thesis on how museums engage their audiences and other cultural institutions.

During his week with We the Humanities, Ben will lead discussions in all things museums.  Topics will range from exhibitions to outreach, education to internships, branding to publishing, and everything else in between.  As the first We the Humanities curator from Canada, a lot of discussion will involve Canadian museums and how they relate and compare to museums in other countries.  Come join Ben as he explores the modern museum and builds bridges between Canadian museums and others around the world.

Co-founder Jessica Sage comments: “Our aim is to engage with people from around the world, exposing them to research, experience and ideas they perhaps didn’t know existed, and to reiterate the place of the humanities in our cultures.  We really look forward to Ben running the account from November 24, and in particular his take on museum work.”

Each week a new tweeter curates the account and tweets about what they do within the field and what their interests are, encouraging conversations with an audience that covers everyone from the lifetime specialists to the mildly curious.  The account is also backed up by a blog, available at http://wethehumanities.wordpress.com, in order to allow further discussion, and Ben will provide daily blogs at his site: http://benfast.ca/category/we-the-humanities/.

Kristina West, co-founder of We the Humanities, adds: “We encourage anyone working within the humanities who might be interested in curating the account to get in touch.  We aim to create a vibrant, international community to raise awareness of the diversity, relevance and challenges that encompass what is called the humanities.”

If Canadian museums are interested in sponsoring this project by providing giveaway prizes (must be able to send them internationally) or gift certificates for online stores (gift shop must be able to send internationally), Ben will feature the museums on Twitter throughout the day, on the recap blog post for the day, and in a final blog post on the We the Humanities page.  Interested organizations can contact Ben directly at ben@benfast.ca.

Museum workers are also invited to take part in Ben’s informal museum survey, the results of which will help guide discussion and provide a inside look into the museum industry in Canada.  The survey can be found here: http://benfast.ca/2014/11/17/wth-museum-worker-survey/

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Contact details:

Jessica Sage, We the Humanities: e-mail: j.a.m.sage@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Kristina West, We the Humanities: email: k.j.west@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Ben Fast, guest curator: email: ben@benfast.ca, Twitter: @benfaster

 

About We The Humanities:

A rotation curation Twitter account showcasing the creativity and diversity of the humanities and reiterating the fact that the humanities are more widely important than current public funding suggests.

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed at the @wethehumanities Twitter account are those of the weekly guest editor and not those of the administrator or previous/subsequent curators.  The views expressed on the blog are the views of named posters and not those of the administrators.  

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