Scottish Museums Day

This blog was written by myself, reflecting on the success of Scottish Museums Day at the start of October. It was originally published on the Scottish Museums Federation blog page on the 11th October 2016. 

On a January morning, earlier this year, I stumbled across the hashtag #CanadianMuseumsDay.

That sounds fantastic I thought.

Why can’t we have a #ScottishMuseumsDay?

A quick Google hashtag search confirmed that there wasn’t one. Great! Fast-forward a few months, and an announcement was made at the Scottish Museums Federation Conference, that in October we’d celebrating  Scottish Museums with the aptly titled (although admittedly a bit too long) hashtag #ScottishMuseumsDay. It would be taking place on October 3rd. The reason for this specific date was definitely not inspired by the movie, “Mean Girls“.

#ScottishMuseumsDay - October 3rd
#ScottishMuseumsDay – October 3rd

And with that in mind, planning was underway. As the Committee, we decided we’d like to organise a Thunderclap, an online tool that allows a message be heard more clearly, when you and your online networks say it together. We put together an information sheet on what we wanted to achieve from our #ScottishMuseumsDay as well as a “Tweet Cheat Sheet”.

We asked Museums to sign up and register their interest, which they did, and with gusto! We approached larger organisations asking if they would support #ScottishMuseumsDay and again they did! I also spoke at a Heritage Professionals in Edinburgh Digital Meet up and at the Scottish Heritage Social Media Group bi-monthly meet-up about the day and waxed lyrical about how easy it was for Scottish Museums, Galleries, Libraries and Archives to get involved with our Thunderclap and the day itself.

As time counted down, more and more Museums were getting involved and signing up and asking all the right questions. And then the day came…

We posted our first tweet at 6.55am and we were off!

And the Tweets kept coming. As the day went on, we saw tweets with the #ScottishMuseumsDay hashtag becoming more and more frequent. Then the hashtag started trending on Twitter in Edinburgh, then in Glasgow, then up the east coast and away up to Caithness! Accounts were still signing up to the Thunderclap, then at 12pm, our Thunderclap was sent and we saw the hashtag spike!

The volume of tweets sent on 3rd October. Peaking just after 12pm and 4pm.
The volume of tweets sent on 3rd October. Peaking just after 12pm and 4pm.

And it wasn’t just about the hashtag either! Individuals were engaging with Museums and gaining knowledge too!

audubon-capture

We were also delighted to see Heart of Midlothian FC engage with the hashtag, to let us know about their new Museum.

This was one of our most popular tweets of the day! We were also thrilled to have TV Historian Dan Snow sign up for our Thunderclap, which reached over 500,000 users, and Outlander author Diana Gabaldon retweeted some Culloden based tweets too!

By the time the evening rolled round, the tweets had started to wind down, and we signed off for the evening. The next morning we started to data crunch (the fun bit!), and we found that over 875 users took part using our hashtag, sending over 1,800 #ScottishMuseumsDay related tweets!

We managed to reach over 2,800,000 individual users which created over 7.5 million impressions on Twitter! We are of course absolutely delighted with how the day went, and it massively exceeded our expectations. We’ll be bringing #ScottishMuseumsDay back for next year too! In the meantime follow us on Twitter or Facebook, to keep up with the latest from the Scottish Museums Federation.

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