Reflecting on Museum Memories Day 2013

Last week, on 17th May, Museum Memories Day  returned to Twitter by popular request, two years after it was first initiated! The idea was as simple as before: everyone was invited to tweet about their most memorable museum moments using the hashtag #MusMem. All those tweets were then collected in our Memory Bank, and we also tracked #MusMem via the site hashtracking.com, which gives us a few more statistics for those of you who like that kind of thing ;) Last time we started tracking and archiving tweets a month before, but due to the changes in the limitations of free available software, this time round we started just a couple of days before. We were therefore not able to capture the exact extent of the tweets in the run up to the event, but we’d like to express a big thanks to everyone who helped to spread the word! For our final data, the date range includes both the 17th May itself, as well as the 18th May which was International Museum Day and saw a small spike of #MusMem activity in the afternoon.

#MusMem Tweets on 17 & 18 May 2013

We had an amazing response to #MusMem! In total, we tracked over 1,500 tweets from over 800 different contributors from around the world and whilst the majority of tweets were in English, we also spotted some in French, Spanish, Dutch, German and Swedish, to name just a few. In fact, during the peak time – which was morning on the East coast of North America and afternoon in much of Europe – the hashtag was trending in eight different countries at once, including Scotland, England, Wales, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the USA. And hashtracking.com estimates there were over 5 million timelines deliveries. Even though there’s no way of measuring how many of those actually got read, that’s still a pretty big impact.

Museums, galleries and other exhibition spaces from all around the world as well as associated organisations and individual museum professionals, friends, fans and enthusiasts participated. Some people just joined in for a short period of time whilst others tweeted along throughout the day, and our Top 10 tweeters were @Oxley_Moron, @Kasuutta, @V_Septembre, @MuseumJoCas, @mcmanusdundee, @HeatherMGS, @isalara, @MoCBurntisland, @TinctureOfMuse and @PooleMuseum. Of course all the RTs asking people to share their most memorable museum moments helped too, with the biggest impact coming via @kidsinmuseums and @AAMers who got re-tweeted 73 and 34 times respectively. But whether you send just on #MusMem tweet or dozens, we’d like to extend that big thanks to EVERYONE who participated!

#MusMem Trend Map

The many #MusMem stories shared reflected how much people loved and cherished museums and were inspired by them. Childhood experiences leading to a later career in museums were a recurring theme, as were stories about first dates, marriage proposals and weddings. The ever popular dinosaurs and mummies made an appearance fairly early on and kept popping up throughout the day, and there were many more photographs being shared than two years ago. The most re-tweeted #MusmMem came from @KatharineES: “I met my husband at the National Gallery near the Rembrandts. Few years later he proposed in the Louvre”, which was re-tweeted 12 times.

We’ve created a word cloud of the 50 most frequently used words (which excludes common words such as the, a, and, as well as personal pronouns anad names), though not counting Museum + Memories/ Memory + Day since due to the name of the event these featured in over 50% of the tweets. Comparing it with the word cloud from two years ago, “first” is still the most frequent word, showing what a big impact a first visit can make!

MusMem-Wordle2013

The museums who received the Top 10 most @ mentions were @NationalGallery @britishmuseum @metmuseum @NtlMuseumsScot @McManusDundee @vangoghmuseum @StFagans_Museum @NHM_London and @MuseumOfLondon, which was a mixture of people sharing #MusMem stories about them, and them being retweeted. But as you know, we’re all about the little, less prominent museums too (check out Adopt-a-Museum if you have a little gem of a museum you’d like to promote) – we just have a weakness for statistics – so in our eyes every single museum that got a mention is just as much of a star as those that made the most popular lists! And as we were taking museums as an umbrella term, many other kinds of exhibition spaces got mentioned, including quite a few Castles.

And here is a small flavour of the many, many stories that were shared:

  • @ookpiktoque My 4yo kid is still talking about the bear, moose and deer displays at NS Museum of Natural History a month after our visit. #MusMem
  • @BecksM36 #MusMem being 6, going the natural history museum to c dinosaurs after 4pm in the 80s as you didn’t have to pay the admission charge after 4
  • @KathrynRosina Nine years old. Anne Murray Museum. Glittery gold jacket. #nuffsaid #MusMem
  • @KayTopping as a 10yr old queuing for AGES to see Tutankhamen @britishmuseum & seeing so many wonderful objects #musmem
  • @redhels42 Having my Blue Peter badge winning drawing displayed at the NHM when I was about 12 – have now worked there for as many yrs #MusMem
  • @pronounced_ing As a kid, I didn’t know there were other @smithsonian museums: went w my physicist dad to @airandspace every DC trip &stayed all day #musmem
  • @TinctureOfMuse Going to @britishmuseum has reminded me of #MusMem when I was little and thought Elgin Marbles were giant marbles #epicfail
  • @colognella I remember my Ukrainian godson being so angry about modern art that he formed his first full sentences in English to express it… #MusMem
  • @MuseumMinute The first time I saw a dinosaur at a museum changed my life. I was in awe & remember getting goosebumps! #musmem
  • @cornishkaren Great #MusMem of first date to Duchamp exhib @Tate following a heated debate about modern art. Now we’re getting married!
  • @MarkBSchlemmer #MusMem My 1st internship @metmuseum where I spent every lunch break exploring the myriad cultures & art work on exhibit.
  • @LoriVAnderson Sitting in a Spitfire at the Museum of Flight @NtlMuseumsScot . I can still remember how snug it felt and how it smelled #MusMem x
  • @nmcubbie Holding the funeral Bible of George Washington at the House of the Temple. #musmem #scottishrite
  • @SimonAStephens #MusMem holding a bird specimen collected by Darwin during a tour of storage facilities at Natural History Museum Tring was pretty special
  • @AndieCrispy My 1st time at the Louvre. I’m really disappointed by the tiny Mona Lisa & wondering why no one looks at the amazing Wedding at Cana #MusMem
  • @ ShattuckGallery Isabel’s #MusMem is dragging a friend through the @gardnermuseum to see a #Vermeer she hadn’t realized was stolen in the infamous #heist
  • @ runlolarun An embarrassing number of my #musmem-ories have to do with crying in front of various works of art.
  • @CailaB #MusMem seeing a security guard at @AMNH pretend to be a statue and scare everyone :)

Remember, you can still read all of the stories in the #MusMem MemoryBank. A huge thank you again to everyone for a successful Museum Memories Day! And if you have any further feedback, or suggestions for future events, just tweet@Museum140 or email info[at]museum140[dot]com.

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