Museums: PR Opportunities, What’s New and Next



PR Opportunities

I’m lucky to work on an account like The San Diego Museum of Art as there are endless PR opportunities for museums in traditional media. Between fundraisers, events, new exhibition openings, educational programming, gifts to the institution and more, there is always something going on and something to talk about.

While landing national and international stories and exhibition reviews will always be exciting for me (on the PR side) and the Museum (as this helps raise the Museum’s reputation among other institutions), we challenge ourselves at Bailey Gardiner to apply what’s new and next in marketing, advertising and PR to help the Museum meet another goal - bringing people through the door to appreciate the art on view.

Adding to Steve's blog post on online opportunities for museums, I’ve found some pretty impressive ways museums are using PR and marketing – beyond Twitter, Facebook and YouTube - to help audiences connect their online experience with the offline:

Try your hand at curating

A fashion exhibition, American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection just opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the museum partnered with fashion/social shopping site Polyvore to, in a sense, put visitors in the shoes of a curator. Using a computer kiosk on site, visitors can create their own fashion sets using objects from the show, and select sets can be seen Polyvore’s website.

Foursquare badges

After checking in on Foursquare at the Museum of Modern Art, an art critic – who had just participated in a performance art show at the museum - tweeted that she had unlocked a secret Foursquare badge. The result? The line of people to participate in this performance quadrupled. (UPDATE: So this was really a joke and it didn't happen. But, I don't think this means it was a bad idea)

Interactive quizzes

For an exhibition that follows the lifecycles of Greek heroes, the Walters Art Museum created an online quiz to help audiences identify which mythological hero they are most like. After taking the quiz, people could then follow their mythological hero through the show. The Heroes exhibition is coming to The San Diego Museum of Art this month - look for a similar online/offline experience from BG and the Museum.

Quick response codes/Mobile phone apps

I think this is one to watch. It looks like Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has been using QR codes for some time. Used at this year’s SXSW, QR codes are special bar codes that can be read by mobile phones and from there, link to a website with more information. Museums could use these to provide visitor with little-known knowledge on the works hanging on the walls. PlinkArt, which was snapped up by Google last month, is a similar point-and-shoot mobile app that provides more details behind works of art.

And I'm sure the list goes on. In terms of PR and marketing for museums, what have you seen lately that's impressed you?

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