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6 times museums won social media

From the absolute unit to epic rivalries, these museums know how to play it.

Getting people interested in history can be a difficult task, but there is so much to learn.

So how do museums get the public engaged without making them come to the actual building? Yep, you guessed it, social media.

Take it from these museums, if you get inventive, you may just go viral.

1. The Absolute Unit

When the Museum of English Rural Life shared a picture of a rather large sheep, they probably weren’t expecting it to reach viral status. However, that’s exactly what happened, sparking a meme that many enjoyed getting involved with.

Even other museums gave the meme a go. Meet Lubber.

2. Making memes from artefacts

Lewis Pollard, an assistant curator at the Museum of Science and Industry, was looking at the huge variety of light bulbs in the Manchester museum’s collection when a “bright idea” struck him.

Pollard used photographs of the different artefacts from the Science Museum Group Collection to represent different types of ideas, to hilarious effect.

3. Playing on a rivalry

Like most things, US museums do social media bigger than most. Way back in 2015, the Seattle Art Museum and New England’s Clark Art Institute bet on which team would win the Superbowl – the Seattle Seahawks or the New England Patriots.

What was at stake? A three-month loan of a painting from one of their collections. The #MuseumBowl has since become an integral part of Superbowl season, with museums from the cities represented in the finals making bets.

4. Texting art to your fans

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) set up an on-demand art service for fans who wanted to explore the museum’s collection from afar.

All they needed to do was text a certain number with the words “send me”, followed by a colour, emoji or word, and in return the museum would send a related image and description.

Social media users loved the Send Me SFMOMA scheme, posting their finds for the world to see.

5. Hashtag party

In a bid to get more museums interacting with each other on social media, the US national archives sets a different hashtag each month to showcase the best of their collections.

Past hashtag parties have included #ArchivesRoadTrip and #Archives80s.

6. International museum meme day

Thousands of people got involved in #MusMeme day by using artefacts to create witty images.

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford contributed to the hilarity by combining dog ownership and 16th century Italian sculpture.

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