Following her post on the Stanley Spencer Gallery, Chrissy Rosenthal introduces the Gallery’s iMuse project.
Ann Danks, our gallery archivist, spotted a talk that Annette Haworth of AACT was giving at Reading about the iMuse work at the Museum of English Rural Life and we decided it sounded intriguing.
The use, and future use of IT in the gallery was something that needed addressing. We do not have a resident IT geek on our staff list. One member looks after the Gallery plant and till software, one runs the website and I am involved in creating presentations and illustrated talks using archive material – but we don’t have an overall strategy or IT guru to be definitive about our requirements. As volunteers we have to play to the strengths of the skill base available – and I’m afraid we don’t have the geeky ten year old on staff yet who can tell us instantly what we need and how we do it – so we are feeling our way slowly.
We have discussions about blogging, twitter feeds and Facebook groups, and all the interactive possibilities the new technologies present – but we keep coming back to the same point : as volunteers we have limited time, knowledge and money. We have enthusiasm, but also a mature self knowledge that if you can’t do something wholeheartedly and properly it is better left alone. But is this just an excuse for not trying? Twitter is an amazing marketing tool if used properly – but do you risk ruining that if you are not constantly updating or finding new and engaging things to say – don’t you need to use the right language to keep the appeal – and how on earth do you know who you appealing to anyway? Large institutions have whole departments dedicated to market research and social media – we have a couple of retirees picking their way through the shifting sands……