Creating a Rainbow


First of all, let me say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in #MuseumRainbow. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pictures and tweets that my little idea generated on Twitter and Instagram. So much so, that I got a little emotional when we reached the end of the week and I was looking back on what we had created together – we truly managed to spread the rainbow! For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, #MuseumRainbow was a photography project that ran for a week, with people being encouraged to share museum pics on Instagram and Twitter, relating to a different colour of the rainbow each day (Red on Monday, Orange on Tuesday etc), and finishing the week with rainbows themselves.

But let me go a few steps back. It had been a while, since Museum140 ran a project with a photography focus. I’d been playing around with a few new ideas, including a ‘rotation curation’ based one. But I’d obviously spent too much time planning, because someone else beat me to it. Kudos to them, they obviously had no idea what I was working on (new year’s resolution: don’t delay, just get your ideas out there!) Together with the fact the new year hadn’t gotten off to a great start for me in general, and that winter with its grey upon grey days seemed to be dragging on forever, I was feeling a bit down in the dumps. I really needed something to cheer me up. Then it hit me – let’s create a museum rainbow! Let’s flood Instagram and Twitter with colour! Let’s banish the grey!

rainbow colours

The official start of Spring seemed like a good idea – and it also happened to be Museum140’s fifth birthday that week! – but then I almost started over planning and overthinking again. Was there too much else already happening in March? Was a whole week too long? Would just a day be better? Would anyone take part? Then I remembered my New Year’s resolution, and just threw the idea out there. If never is a good time, you might as well go with now. I admit I was a little anxious, and prepared plenty of pics of my own to share, just to make sure we’d have at least some for each colour. When we ran MuseumABC two and a half years ago, there were on average twenty pics shared per letter, so I thought if we get at least twenty pics for each colour of the rainbow, that would be a good result. Also based on MuseumABC, I boldly/foolishly (delete as applicable) said I’d pin them all to our Museum140 Pinterest rainbow boards. On the first day, over 200 images were shared across Instagram and Twitter for the colour red alone! Wow! As I mentioned, I was overwhelmed. Both emotionally, that so many people and museums liked my idea enough to take part, but also practically, by the sheer amount of pics wanting pinned. To complicate matters, my baby fell ill half way through the Monday, which meant I had to switch to managing the project from my phone for most of the week while I sat alternatively by his bed or in the doctor’s office, and when I tried to catch up on pinning in the evening when he was settled for the night, Pinterest blocked me for 24 hours for pinning too much at once. This had the knock on effect that I was still playing catch up with red when we’d already moved on to yellow and green. So I changed tactic and decided to pin a selection for each colour to start with instead of trying to do all of them at once. I’ll still be adding to the boards over time, but this way each colour has an existing board for you to visit, and the visual impact of scrolling through them is fantastic. I can’t decide which is my favourite!

Over 600 images were shared on Instagram, and about twice as many on Twitter, though there was quite a bit of cross over. But many more people joined in and helped to spread the rainbow – there were over 8,000 Tweets sent with the hashtag #MuseumRainbow, with around 80% of those being retweets. That created quite an impact, with many people commenting on how their Twitter feed was flooded with colour. The hashtag was trending in various countries all week. I counted shared pics from almost twenty different countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, the USA and Wales (apologies if I have missed anyone out).


As we reached the end of the week, people were not only sharing pics of rainbows or rainbow coloured objects from museum collections for the colour theme of the last day, they were also creating new rainbows by putting together collages of their contributions from throughout the day. I have to admit, at that point I had a little tear in my eye. But in a good way. 

So thank you again to everyone for coming together and making this happen. Thank you for your pictures and your enthusiasm. Thank you for creating a #MuseumRainbow with me!

>> View the Museum140 Pinterest boards! <<



  1. #MuseumRainbow | Museum Diary - March 28, 2016

    […] a slightly more detailed reflection on #MuseumRainbow week over at Museum140 (>> ‘Creating a Rainbow‘) and you can also check out the #MuseumRainbow Pinerest boards. Here I wanted to share with […]

Leave a Reply