Tuesday, October 20, 2009
When in Alaska, Use Volcanic Eruptions to Your Advantage
Fortunately for the Alaska Museum of Natural History, volcanic eruptions are a pretty common occurrence. Shortly after we released a new volcano simulator on our website, a volcanic eruption not far from Anchorage provided a way for us to capitalize on the media interest. As Alaska's only museum of natural history, our website was a popular destination for the public during the month-long eruption. All we had to do was add a link to our volcano interactive on the homepage to promote this educational module.
Every museum has a unique area of expertise. What is yours? Think about how you can tie your specializations into popular topics. In particular, look for timely ways to tap into popular stories in the news, either locally or nationally.
Are you an art museum hosting an exhibit of art from a particular region? When that region hits the news headlines, why not create an interactive exhibit on your museum's website? You can highlight talent from that part of the world and generate interest in your exhibit at the same time.
Perhaps you are a municipal history museum with a large collection of historical photos. When the next anniversary of your city comes around, release an interactive photo gallery online that celebrates the occasion and draws attention to your unique collection.
There's nothing wrong with featuring content that is not popular or newsworthy. But in your efforts to reach a wider audience with your museum's website, consider how you can connect popular stories to items in your collection. A well designed interactive module with a promotional tie-in can help you educate more people and expand your mission.