Mondays 7-8pm UST (UK time).
#museumhour is (yet another) new UK-based museum movement which took 24 hours to set up by Sophie Ballinger (@sospot) and me (@tehm).
Sophie had a while back posed the question of whether a #museumhour existed in Twitterverse and received the sound of tumbleweed in return.
I was travelling back to Cornwall from London after a meeting of Museums Association Regional Reps in which there was much discussion about the best forums for museum people to get together online to exchange news and views, particularly to debate the Museum Association’s new agenda Museums Change Lives (I almost wrote Loves).
Place-based Twitter hours have been well-established across the country, from #CornwallHour to #ScotlandHour as have profession-based ones such as #legalhour.
Searching for the existence of a #museumhour Tehmina found Sophie via Eureka! Museum’s twitter feed and after a few tweets exchanged after working hours during commutes and baby feeds we claimed the hour every Monday 7-8pm. Sophie set up a Twitter account @museumhour to help field the exchange of tweets and an automatic retweet of its accompanying hashtag #museumhour
As long as people used the hashtag #museumhour or replied to @museumhour participants can follow tweets easily.
After some initial campaigning in between our day jobs Monday 6 October, 7pm arrived. We had about 57 followers at the beginning and by the end of the evening this grew to over 100.
We had no idea what would happen. We didn’t want to control proceedings by forcing a topic but to encourage people to share #onecoolthing about their museum or their favourite museum.
Although a UK-based social meet we had willing tweeters from Virginia, USA to South Australia. And those working in museums were joined with museophiles.
Astonishingly 99 people sent 349 tweets during the first #museumhour
Tweets ranged from Brighton Museums’ football table in their World Stories gallery, Kids in Museums’ Youth Panel meeting at Geffrye Museum, the launch of iBeacons at Roman Caerleon, the famous cat mummy of Derby Museums (it is essential to include cats in all Twitter conversations–Ed), Lowewood Museum’s community project and exhibition on World War 1 display, finding out Sir Walter Scott used to be a Sheriff and his courtroom museum is there to be visited in Selkirk, a museum geek’s Elk, two major development projects at Surgeons Hall Museum and Epping Forest District Museum, and news from the Welsh Museum Festival. And more.
In fact it continued beyond the hour.
Look, just take a look at #museumhour tweets.
The idea is to let #museumhour grow organically and steadily and begin to introduce some hard hitting topics to the weekly discussions.
Policy-making museum people were notably absent or quiet and yet tend to be the ones always wanting our opinion on things. We hope they join the talk.
I also hope that #museumhour will remain good fun, be a new, additional way, for museum people to meet each other and network, as well as providing a forum for opinions to be exchanged.