This past February, I blogged about 18 New York City museums who swapped Instagram accounts for one day with the goal of not only highlighting each other’s collection and architecture, but also introducing another institution to their audience—all this while having fun. In that same blog post, I wondered what it would be like if Boston-area museums organized their own #museuminstaswap and showed their social media followers that museums in Boston can also have fun.
Boston museums have come a long way since publishing that post. Historic New England began to embrace Instagram as a tool with which they can engage with an audience unfamiliar with their house museums. On a similar note, the Museum of Fine Arts has not only stepped up their Twitter game, but has even gone as far as inviting guest Instagrammers to take over their account for special events and openings, adding someone else’s perspective of the museum and its patrons.
This is great and all, but the best news for Gardner Museum lovers came in March when I wrote about the Museum’s newly enacted, but very confusing photo policy. I urged the Gardner Museum to clarify their policy for the sake of their visitors’ experience and to my surprise (and many of my followers on social media), in less than a week after publishing the post, the Gardner Museum rewrote their photography policy and began allowing photos throughout the museum.
While Boston-area museums were continuing to engage with their followers on social media, it wasn’t until June when 12 Los Angeles museums switched Instagram accounts that I lovingly reminded Boston museums that a #museuminstaswap needed to happen.
And then it all began to take shape.
On Thursday December 1st, 16 museums in the Boston area have swapped Instagram accounts for one day to share the collections, stories and make connections from the North Shore to the South Shore, from the eastern to western part of the Commonwealth. And here we are.
In the Boston iteration of #museuminstaswap, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has taken over the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will be Instagramming on behalf of the Boston Children’s Museum (this is perfect in so many ways) and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem with will take over the MIT Museum. Other swaps include Historic New England with the Harvard Art Museums which will in turn take over the USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown.