Museums have long tried to keep up with the technological demands of audiences. They have also tried many techniques to appeal to younger visitors as well. Some museums have been apprehensive about turning to social media to promote their exhibits, while others have been enthusiastic in hopes of bringing in more visitors. The Museum of the City of the New York (MCNY) was founded in 1923 and has been one of the top destinations for New Yorkers and tourists. The museum’s mission is to “foster understanding of the distinctive nature of urban life in the world’s most influential metropolis. It engages visitors by celebrating, documenting, and interpreting the city’s past, present, and future.” How does one of the oldest museums in the United States stay relevant in a technologically based world? What type of social media programming does the museum use to attract visitors? Did MCNY need to change its mission in order to bring in new visitors?
For this project, I will focus on the technological tactics MCNY uses, such as social media and other media outlets, in order to attract more visitors.
The MCNY uses social media, like Instagram, to share hashtag posts like #OnThisDay and #CityViewSunday to interact with their followers. They also share photos from their physical collections in order to attract a larger audience. For example, they have shared collections from their 80s music exhibit and Samuel H. Gottscho’s photographs from the 1930’s, to target both younger and older audiences. The museum also participates in other virtual programs like the creation of their podcast called Your Hometown. Why did they choose to feature certain collections rather than others? Has sharing those particular collections/exhibits helped to increase traffic to the museum? Do these posts speak to the cultural and social diversity of New Yorkers and tourists alike?
Looking at the museum’s past posts and collections shared, we can see the posts that their followers liked and commented on the most. From there, I will listen to their most viewed podcasts and see how their languages differ from each other. I would then put the posts and transcripts of the podcast on Voyant. Voyant is an online site that gives the user a visual picture to see which words are the most commonly used. By using this online tool, you can easily compare the language styles of these two digital platforms. Do museums use different language on their podcast vs. their Instagram posts? Are they trying to appeal to two separate demographics using these platforms? What history is displayed on these posts and is there a particular time period that gets the most likes or views?