Pinterest isn’t just for wedding planning or finding great new DIY crafts. Although it may seem like there’s not much for museums on the platform, a closer look shows that some institutions (both big and small) are creatively curating on the site to reach Pinterest’s more than 150 million active monthly users. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting Pinterest boards from museums of all sizes to help inspire you.
Best Board: Teaching George Washington
The home of America’s first president has a dedicated board targeting teachers on how to include George Washington, the Presidents, and the Revolutionary War in the classroom. Other museums follow suit, using this type of board to post education-based materials on their dedicated subject, but Mount Vernon’s collection hosts a wide variety of subjects. Going beyond relatable subjects, Mount Vernon’s social media team also links to their museum’s own programming. Their Pinterest account frequently re-pins great ideas from teachers across the country, making the board both informative and interactive.
The Takeaway: Yes, you’re probably making great content but by sharing what others are doing, you’re building a network and developing a relationship with users. Think about other related topics that can also be incorporated into educational materials.
Best Board: All of them
The Rhode Island School of Design, often known by its acronym RISD, hosts an impressive art and design school, as well as a prominent art museum. Their collection spans a wide variety of topics, and they have used Pinterest to categorize them in a new way that shakes up the traditional format. Most boards focus on the process of the piece: cutting, gilding, or even bent wood. However, other boards group pieces in a whole new way, such as ‘Little Black Dress,’ ‘Feline,’ and ‘Lorum Ipsum.’
The Takeaway: Think outside the box, and utilize the platform to think about categorizing your collection in a new way that visitors might not expect.
Best Board: Quotable Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s iconic status has made the the transition to the virtual world, giving voice to its own “fandom” with Shakespeare-inspired products for sale and dedicated fan blogs like Tumblr’s ‘Hard for the Bard.’ This popularity is a natural partner for another popular trend online: quotes. Visual quotes are wildly popular with users on Pinterest, so much so that it’s one of the platform’s suggested search categories. The Folger Shakespeare Library combines their central figure and the popular trend into one board: Quotable Shakespeare. Image-based quotes from the Bard himself, or his works, are posted with links back to the library’s website.
The Takeaway: One of the main benefits of Pinterest as a platform is its ability to link users back to your website. Capitalize on popular keywords and categories to build your online audience.
Best Board: Pyrex Potluck Recipes
Pinterest users love recipes and the Corning Museum of Glass has found an awesome, innovative way to capitalize on this love of trying new food! The museum has a board that centers around Pyrex, the glass-based baking dish company, and posts early recipies associated with the brand. These images link back to a dedicated Pyrex site that covers historic Pyrex patterns in the museum’s collection, articles, and recipes. Take a look at the “Object of the Week” board that helps make Corning a regular sight in user’s feeds.
The Takeaway: Pinterest also functions as another way to showcase a special collection or link to a specialized page for your museum.
Best Board: The Warhol Store
The Warhol Museum makes great use of one of Pinterest’s newest options – Buyable Pins. This new feature allows users to browse and securely purchase products featured on Pinterest, all without ever leaving the website. The Warhol Museum not only features products from their own shop, but other Warhol inspired goodies from all over the internet, making their board a one-stop shop for all your Pop Art needs.
The Takeaway: With Pinterest’s integrated Buyable Pin option, users can access your gift shop without ever having to leave the site.
Best Board: Cosplay
Cosplay is fandom at its finest – a shortened form of costume play, it is a performance art in which participants wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character. The Getty incorporates pieces from their collection alongside fine-art based cosplay to create an innovative and inspiring board.
The Takeaway: Think about using pop culture to engage your collection, thinking beyond image-based memes, and exploring your audience’s other interests.
Best Board: All of them
Social media allows for a more level playing field independent of museum size and prestige, greatly expanding the reach of smaller or lesser known institutions. The Birds of Vermont Museum is such an example, with an impressive collection of boards on Pinterest. They have harnessed their collection into practical boards, discussing the various species of birds you’ll find within the museum. Another board helps users identify birds they may see in their own backyard, while other boards focus on activities for children, crafting, lego bird patterns, and creative treehouses.
The Takeaway: If your collection is relatively narrow in focus, think of different ways to view your museum’s collection to show your institution is the best place to get information on the subject.
As with all social media, Pinterest is only as good as you make it. It goes beyond filing away links and can be used in unique ways to bring some engagement to your online content. A huge benefit of the bookmark-based site is the ability to link pins back to your website.Take some pin-spiration from our favorites and remember to think about your collection in a new way, come up with related topics, and incorporate pop culture or trends. An easy place to start is creating a board with buyable pins that link back to your museum’s shop.
We’d love to see your museum’s Pinterest boards! You can also follow and find us at Museum Hack.