What's On: The Cuberis Podcast

What's On: The Cuberis Podcast

Nick Faber, Director of Content Strategy
May 22, 2020 31 min

Episode 14: #MuseumBouquet and #MuseumSunshine

My guests today are Emily Haight of the New-York Historical Society and Hilary-Morgan Watt of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. They manage the social media accounts for their respective institutions, and during the COVID-19 crisis, they’ve been collaborating on campaigns that offer a little bit of light and joy, in an otherwise dark time. You may have seen the hashtags #museumboquet and #museumsunshine, through which they’ve shared virtual flowers and rays of light from their collections. We had a great talk about the importance of connecting people to museums and each other through simple human gestures and explored the importance of digital media during the shutdown and beyond. But first, I wanted to know how these two social media managers, from two different types of institutions in two different cities became close collaborators. So, that’s where we’ll start. If you’d like to be a guest on What’s On or know someone else doing innovative work online for their museum—especially now—send me an email. It’s [email protected] (Other links mentioned in this episode: Museums are Not Neutral & Museum Workers Relief Fund)
May 11, 2020 32 min

Episode 13: Claire Lanier from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you work in social media for your cultural institution, there's a pretty good chance you know Claire Lanier, or are at least familiar with her work. I first interviewed Claire for this podcast about two years ago, when she was managing social media at the New-York Historical Society. She and Meredith Duncan, who was at the Museum of the City of New York, had just won MUSE Award for the #MuseumSnowBallFight campaign, in which museums around the world lobbed snow-related images at each other via social media, while much of the US was shut down during the Bomb Cyclone storm. Based on that conversation, I knew that Claire had a knack for using social media to connect a museum's mission with its audience, even when that museum's doors are closed. So I thought this would be a good time to check in to see how it's been running social media for the Met during a pandemic.
Apr 27, 2020 25 min

Episode 12: Alison Byrne and Brad Tuggle from Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

If you're listening to this in April 2020, which is when I'm recording this, I don't need to tell you how much has changed in the world since the last time I did an episode of What's On. If you happen to be listening in the distant future and don't remember what I'm talking about, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and museums are temporarily closed to the public. Physically, at least. As days of sheltering in place turned into weeks, and now over a month, museum members, families, and just people in general have been hungry for the sort of cultural and educational sustenance that only a museum can provide. And some museums are using digital tools to rise to the occasion. A couple of weeks ago I was looking through the excellent thread of posts using the #MuseumFromHome hashtag, and I spotted a tweet from Virginia MOCA announcing the launch of a new site: Virtual VA MOCA. When I clicked through, I landed on a pretty robust site, with virtual galleries of current exhibitions, educational resources and videos made from home, and interviews with artists, who are exhibiting from home. All of this was built out on a free Google site, and it felt totally made for this exact moment. Because it was. I started this podcast two years ago to showcase the great work museums are doing with online content, in the hopes of inspiring other museum professionals who are struggling with content strategies. And now, more than ever, that's my goal. So I spoke with Brad Tuggle, Virginia MOCA's Director Of Audience Development, and Alison Byrne, Director of Exhibitions and Education, to ask them to share a little inspiration in this strange and challenging time.
Jan 25, 2019 25 min

Episode 11: Jay Cosnett and Erin Brasell of Oregon Historical Society

My guests today are Jay Cosnett and Erin Brasell from the Oregon Historical Society, and they’re talking with me about their recently-launched blog, Dear Oregon. FULL TRANSCRIPT NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On, the Cuberis podcast. I’m Nick Faber. My guests today are Jay Cosnett and Erin Brasell from the Oregon Historical Society, and they’re talking with me about their recently-launched blog, Dear Oregon. I met Jay last year in Vancouver, at the Museums and the Web conference. It was my first time at MW, and I was co-hosting a content strategy workshop with our CEO Eric. I’d like to think that everyone in the class got something out of our session, but Jay, in particular, seemed to be especially excited to be there. JAY: So I walked in thinking, well I know a little about content strategy, but not focused on museums, this will be great. But then, in like the first two minutes, Nick says, “So, content strategy is a big topic, but what we’re going to do to get your feet wet in an actual project, we’re going to pretend that your organization is starting a blog. And I was like [clap, clap] awesome. Because, of course, we were… ERIN: We were starting a blog! NICK: A few months ago, I checked in on the OHS website to see how the blog was going. And I was so thrilled to see that their new blog, Dear Oregon, had not only launched but was producing some really rich collections-based content. So I reached out to Jay to see if he wanted to talk about the blog, and he insisted that I meet Erin Brasell, too, who Jay described as the brains behind the blog, and they joined me over Skype. Since I’d never been to the Oregon Historical Society, I wanted to know a little bit about what I’d find there, and that’s where we’ll pick up the conversation. ERIN: Our mission is to preserve our state's history and make it accessible to everyone in ways that advance knowledge and inspire curiosity about all the people, places, and events that have shaped Oregon. And it's a mouthful, and it's a pretty broad mission, but we do work to advance the mission in a number of ways, including, we have permanent and temporary exhibits, both here in the building and online. We have a research library, we do a number of public programs and workshops here in our downtown location. We also partner with other organizations across the state. And the Oregon Historical Society recently launched a digital collections site in 2017, which makes available online thousands of images. We also have oral histories and documents from our collections. And they're constantly being updated. So, like hundreds a week, usually? JAY: Yes, hundreds a week. There's tens of thousands of documents on there and the diversity is astounding. And there's just more and more stuff up there all the time. And part of what's important about that is that even though we're located in downtown Portland, we're the Oregon Historical Society. So we're really charged — we're not a part of the government, we're an independent nonprofit that is charged with — we have a duty to preserve and share the history of the entire state with the entire state. So one of the reasons that — my title is web strategist — one of the reasons I was hired almost five years ago was because we needed to do a better job providing services to people who aren't physically here. And so that's really where the web comes in. So the digital collections site has been a huge leap forward in our abilities to provide access to our materials to people who aren't just here. NICK: Awesome, and actually, I had this as a question later on, but Jay, since you mentioned being a web strategist, could tell me a little bit more about what you do at the Oregon Historical Society? JAY: Sure,
Nov 21, 2018 30 min

Episode 10: Jennifer Henel of Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art

Jennifer Henel is Digital Humanities Developer at Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art My guest today is Jennifer Henel, Digital Humanities Developer at Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art. When we talk about museum website content at Cuberis, we break it down into four types. We call one of those types "Essential Content." This refers to the day to day work, mostly scholarly in nature, that occurs at your museum, and would even if you didn't have a website. Thanks to recent innovations and initiatives, more and more institutions are finding innovative ways of repurposing Essential Work as web content. Jennifer has been helping curators and historians publish their work online for years, and joined me to talk about some of the unique challenges of digitizing scholarly works. She also has some great ideas and insights for others who are looking to do something similar for their own institutions. FULL TRANSCRIPT NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On: The Cuberis podcast. I’m Nick Faber. If you’ve ever worked on a website redesign project, you know that it takes a lot of content to fill an entire website. But for a moment, imagine that your museum didn’t have a website at all. Think of how much content your museum would still to produce -- Catalogs, scholarly research, educational resources, labels -- all of the work that is essential to your museum’s mission and purpose. But your museum does have a website, and that work can now impact people who can’t make it to your physical location. When we talk about museum websites at Cuberis, we refer to that type of content as Essential Work. Thanks to recent innovations in digital technology, more and more cultural institutions are making their Essential Work available online, making it accessible to more historians and scholars, and taking advantage of the Internet’s intrinsic properties to make it easier to read and understand. My guest today is Jennifer Henel. She is working with Research Conservator Melanie Gifford of the National Gallery of Art to produce a new publication for the all-digital Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art. I invited her to join me to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of publishing scholarly work online, what peer review looks like for digital publications, and what sort of insights she has for museums looking to make more Essential Work accessible to more people. Jennifer joined me over Skype from the National Gallery of Art. Before we dove into the technical aspects of her work, I wanted to know more about the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Arts. JENNIFER: Sure. It is the scholarly production of articles, etc, relating to Netherlandish art, Flemish art, Northern Baroque paintings, by and large, Dutch Art, that kind of spans the 1400s - I'm making large generalizations here -- through, I'd say the early 1700s, depending on the subject matter. And they are deep scholarly dives, often, into a particular painting or paintings, that sort of thing. It is a community of these various historians that are spread out throughout the world, and they can all contribute. And they aim for quarterly publication, though it just depends on what is coming up when they produce certain publications. So that is what the journal does. NICK: So you just started working with them -- or recently started working with them -- as a digital humanities developer. What is your role there, and what does that title mean? JENNIFER: So I am working on a specific new publication that is part of the journal offerings. It's going to be slated for next year. We're aiming, I believe, for late June to push this out. And what I'll be doing is, I'm working with a scholar, Melanie Gifford, on her research on the Sir Peter Paul Rubens painting The Fall of ...
Oct 19, 2018 29 min

Episode 9: Adrienne Clark of Museum of Pop Culture

If you’re like Adrienne Clark, you might find that you have more in common with your museum's audience than not. Before she was the Museum of Pop Culture’s Content Manager, Adrienne was a member of the museum and a fan of their collections. And because she can empathize with her audience on that level, the MoPOP blog and Instagram feed always feel vibrant and relevant. I came across the MoPOP blog a few months ago as I was scanning through hundreds of museum websites, and her work immediately stood out to me. Not just because of the subject matter -- as you’ll hear, I’m also a fan of the museum’s topics -- but because of the content’s voice. I wanted to know how she developed the voice of the MoPOP blog, so I asked Adrienne to join me for a Skype call. FULL TRANSCRIPT NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On. The Cuberis Podcast. I’m Nick Faber. My guest today is Adrienne Clark, Content Manager at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. As someone who produces content for your museum, how often do you think about your audience? It might sound like a trick question, but in my opinion, it should always be the first thing you do as you sit down to write an article, take a photo, or produce a new web page. If you start out by asking some simple questions -- Like, who is this content for? What value do we expect to give them? And how could this shape their experience with our institution? -- you can ensure that your website, your blog, or any other digital content you create is making an impact and reinforcing your relationship with your audience. And if you’re like Adrienne Clark, you might find that you have more in common with your audience than not. Before she was the Museum of Pop Culture’s Content Manager, Adrienne was a member of the museum and a fan of their collections. And because she can empathize with her audience on that level, the MoPOP blog and Instagram feed always feel vibrant and relevant. I came across the MoPOP blog a few months ago as I was scanning through hundreds of museum websites, and her work immediately stood out to me. Not just because of the subject matter -- as you’ll hear, I’m also a fan of the museum’s topics -- but because of the content’s voice. I wanted to know how she developed the voice of the MoPOP blog, so I asked Adrienne to join me for a Skype call. But first, I’ve never been to her museum, so I wanted to know what I could expect to see if I ever got the chance. And that’s where we’ll pick up the conversation. ADRIENNE: Well, the first thing you'll see is a big, colorful kind of crazy-looking building designed by Frank Gehry. It's right underneath the Space Needle. You can't really miss it. The monorail, which you probably would have seen swooping through the neighborhood goes straight through the building as well. So that's the first thing you're going to see, and you're gonna go, what is this place? Inside, you're going to see exhibits on music -- Nirvana, Pearl Jam -- exhibits on science fiction and horror film, as well as indie games. And right now we have a huge, massive -- our biggest exhibit to date -- of Marvel Universe of Super Heros, so a pretty cool addition. NICK: Awesome. Yeah, I noticed lately that you've had a lot more Halloween related content, so I was wondering how much horror is actually on display in the museum. Is that a pretty big part? Is it like film in general, or are you pretty genre-specific? ADRIENNE: It's actually one exhibit that focuses on horror. You're seeing a little bit of my joy of horror as well, I'm a big horror film fan. And every year we do a kind of initiative called "31 Days of Horror", but we only have four or so events, so the rest of that is filled out with content. It's our bread and butter this time of year.
Oct 09, 2018 24 min

Episode 8: Charissa Sedor and Ralph Crewe of Carnegie Science Center

Screengrab from: https://youtu.be/ldqv6Y2myKI Charissa Sedor and Ralph Crew host Science News and Qs, also known as SNaQ, for the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. They combine their curiosity about science with the intimacy of podcasting to help the Science Center reach people in its own community and around the world. Each new episode is not only fun and informative, but it also extends the Science Center’s mission to delight -- as you’ll hear, they’re definitely delightful -- educate -- they know what they’re talking about and are great at explaining it -- and inspire. And if you’ve ever considered starting a podcast for your museum, hopefully, they’ll inspire you to finally do it. FULL TRANSCRIPT NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On. I’m Nick Faber, Director of Content Strategy at Cuberis. My guests today are Charissa Sedor and Ralph Crewe of the Carnegie Science Center. If you’re listening to this episode right now, I don’t have to tell you what a podcast is. But I would like to tell you why I like them so much. I grew up listening to talk radio, and not just for the news. I especially loved the shows where it was just one or two people in a studio, talking about current events, sharing stories from their lives, making jokes. Just… talking. It felt like a constant companion in my life, like a reliable, funny friend, who was always ready to hang out. When podcasts became more accessible, I started listening to those. And I sought out shows that reminded me of the radio shows that I loved. And the best part was, I didn’t have wait to tune in at a certain time, I could just listen whenever I wanted to. As podcasting grew in popularity, something really great happened. They started getting really, really specific. Now there are podcasts about board games, podcasts about a single band or movie, podcasts about other podcasts. It seems like there’s a podcast for every niche. When I work with museums on developing content strategies, one of the exercises we work through is figuring out their unique positioning. Basically, who are you, who do you serve, and what do you do for them? In other words, what’s your niche and what sort of content can you create to own it? My guests today have become experts at using the intimacy and immediacy of podcasting to help their institution serve its audience of science-curious folks in their own community and around the world. Charissa Sedor and Ralph Crew host Science News and Qs, also known as SNaQ, for the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Each new episode is not only fun and informative, but it also extends the Science Center’s mission to delight -- as you’ll hear, they’re definitely delightful -- educate -- they know what they’re talking about and are great at explaining it -- and inspire. And if you’ve ever considered starting a podcast for your museum, hopefully, they’ll inspire you to finally do it. Charissa and Ralph joined me over Skype. I asked them where the idea for SNaQ came from, and that’s where we’ll pick up the conversation. RALPH: About... what, a year and a half, two years ago, I started talking about doing a podcast. I'm lucky that I get to make new programs at the Science Center. My title is Program Development Coordinator. And I share an office with Charissa. And Charissa and I have been working together for years, and we've done live planetarium programs and other things for a long time. And I just basically-- I listen to a ton of podcasts, and thought, why can't the Science Center have a podcast? So we started working together and brainstorming. We put together a little miniature episode about bees. CHARISSA: Yes, our two-minute pilot. RALPH: And showed it to the directors, and were like, hey look,
Aug 09, 2018 22 min

Episode 7: Katharine Uhrich of Field Museum

My guest today is Katharine Uhrich from The Field Museum, and we’re talking about social media. Social media has become a standard part of most marketing and communications strategies, but just showing up on Twitter isn't enough to keep potential visitors engaged. The best accounts to follow don’t just interact with their followers, they regularly provide entertainment, information, and something of value in every post. Katharine is the social media manager at Chicago’s Field Museum. Day in and out, the Field’s social media feeds are filled with high-quality updates from its collection, its researchers, and its visitors and fans. And sometimes with a little help from its Twitter-famous T .rex, SUE. I wanted to know how Katharine manages this vibrant presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, in a way that isn’t just engaging but also aligned with her museum’s mission. So I invited her to join me on the podcast. FULL TRANSCRIPT NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On. The Cuberis podcast. I’m Nick Faber. My guest today is Katharine Uhrich from The Field Museum, and we’re talking about social media. You know, maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but, in some ways, social media has become the 21st century equivalent of fan mail. Think about Twitter, for instance. Celebrities are more accessible than ever. Unlike the old days where you had to find an address in a magazine and hope your favorite pop star or actor gets your letter, and then really hope you hear back from them, today, there’s a pretty good chance that you can have a real-time interaction with them. And furthermore, social media has made celebrities out of people, places, and inanimate objects who would have been harder to reach in whatever niche they occupy. Now you can tweet at an airline. Or a baseball team. Or a dinosaur. But accessibility does not a Twitter follower make. The best accounts to follow don’t just interact with their fans, they regularly provide entertainment, information, something of value in every post. Katharine Uhrich is the social media manager at Chicago’s Field Museum. Day in and out, the Field social media feeds are filled with high-quality updates from its collection, its researchers, and its visitors and fans. And sometimes with a little help from its Twitter-famous T .rex, SUE. I wanted to know how Katharine manages this vibrant presence in a way that isn’t just engaging, but also aligned with her museum’s mission, so I invited her to join me over Skype. Here’s Katharine. KATHARINE: We try to be very friendly and welcoming, obviously inclusive and respectful. And sort of generally be seen as an authority, but not authoritative. We also try to be clever and fun, you know. Talk like a real person to real people. And a lot of that voice comes directly from our mission and our brand. So I think social's a great opportunity for us to be an extension of that, and to be the living personality of the brand and mission online. And, obviously, depending on the platform, the voice expresses itself in different ways. For instance, on Facebook, I'd say we're a little bit more formal and by the book. Whereas, obviously, on Twitter, you can have a lot more fun. The pace is more rapid. There's more opportunity for witty banter and whatnot. NICK: And emojis. KATHARINE: Yes, and many emojis. NICK: And so, the SUE account does use a lot of animated GIFs and emoji, and makes a lot of jokes and is sort of irreverent. Would you say that, as the Field social media manager, that you're taking any kind of cues from that, as far as what people respond to? Or is the SUE account helping to influence what you do as far as that kind of friendly voice and the style of emoji and banter and stuff? KATHARINE: Yeah, absolutely.
Jul 16, 2018 16 min

Episode 6: Tess Colwell of Brooklyn Historical Society

If you’ve ever managed a museum blog, there’s a pretty good chance that you started off with a lot of steam, publishing two or three posts a week. But over time, your output slowed to a trickle, and you were happy if you were publishing one post a month. Or quarter. Without a good plan in place, you might run out of ideas or worse, fall victim to the dreaded choice paralysis. With so many great stories at your fingertips, it helps to have creative parameters to make sure you’re telling the right one at. One way to create guardrails on your blog is with recurring features. Think “Curator’s Corner”, or “Artist Profiles”, or, in the case of the Brooklyn Historical Society, “Photo of the Week.” As Digital Projects Archivist at Brooklyn Historical Society, Tess Colwell oversees major grant projects, provides assets for researchers, and spends a lot of time processing BHS’s collections, particularly the photos. Sometimes she comes across a photo that could bring light to a collection, or provide historical context for a current event. With Photo of the Week, Tess and her colleagues have developed a popular platform for illuminating hidden treasures of Brooklyn Historical Society’s vast collections and expanding the institution’s reach. FULL TRANSCRIPT NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s on. I’m Nick Faber, director of content strategy at Cuberis. My guest today is Tess Colwell of the Brooklyn Historical Society, and we’ll be talking about the “Photo of the Week” feature in the BHS blog. One of the biggest content challenges for museums is the blog. Some museums don’t think they need one, and those who do, don’t always know how to keep it going or even relevant. If you’ve ever managed a blog, there’s a pretty good chance that you started off with a lot of steam, publishing two or three posts a week. But over time, your output slowed to a trickle, and you were happy if you were publishing one post a month. Or quarter. Without a good plan in place, you might run out of ideas or worse, fall victim to the dreaded choice paralysis. With so many great stories at your fingertips, it helps to have creative parameters to make sure you’re telling the right story at the right time. One way to create guardrails on your blog is with recurring features. Think “Curator’s Corner”, or “Artist Profiles”, or, in the case of the Brooklyn Historical Society, “Photo of the Week.” As Digital Projects Archivist at Brooklyn Historical Society, Tess Colwell oversees major grant projects, provides assets for researchers, and spends a lot of time processing BHS’s collections, particularly the photos. Sometimes she comes across a photo that could bring light to a collection, or provide historical context to a current event. With Photo of the Week, Tess and her colleagues have developed a popular platform for illuminating hidden treasures of Brooklyn Historical Society’s vast collections and expanding the institution’s reach. I wanted to know the origin story of Photo of the Week, and how Tess knows which photos to share every week, so we talked over Skype TESS: Photo of the Week is an interesting story. It started before I came to BHS. From what I understand from colleagues, the Fort Greene Patch, which was a local blog, they approached someone from our communications team about creating a Photo of the Week for their website with the intent that the photos would be highlighting the neighborhood of Fort Greene. And we embraced the idea, and we dedicated one post per month to Fort Greene. And then we posted all those posts to our blog as well. And then other neighborhood blogs contacted us as well, but it didn't really catch on. And then, ultimately the For Greene Patch fell off the radar, but we continued the posts and then actually started it as a weekly...
Jun 21, 2018 19 min

Episode 5: Tricia Robson and Emily Jennings of FAMSF

Tricia Robson is the Director of Digital Strategy and Emily Jennings is the Associate Director of Education, School, and Family Programs at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. In this episode of What's On, we’re talking about the FAMSF’s Digital Stories platform. Tricia Robson – Director of Digital Strategy Emily Jennings – Associate Director of Education, School, and Family Programs If you work in the museum industry, there’s a good chance you’ve seen one of their digital stories. Maybe it was de Young’s Teotihuacan story or the Legion of Honor’s Degas story. These long-form narrative pieces, supplemented with rich media elements, tell the stories of these exhibitions in immersive and captivating ways. And like many people who have interacted with these stories, you may have wondered, how could my institution do something like this? I spoke with two of the people behind the digital stories to learn more about the collaboration, planning, and production that goes into making this platform a success. We start by discussing the backstory of the project, and how it sprang from a surprising inspiration: sports fandom. FULL TRANSCRIPT NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On: The Cuberis Podcast. I’m Nick Faber. My guests today are Tricia Robson and Emily Jennings of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: FAMSF. And we’re going to be talking about their Digital Stories platform. But first, I’d like to tell you a story of my own. When I was a kid, I was really into sports. And like anyone with a passion, I wanted to soak up as much information about the teams and players as I could -- stats, bios, logos, and uniforms. I collected the trading cards and figurines, I played video games, wore t-shirts, and I watched whatever games were aired in my local market. But the funny thing is, even though I grew up near Washington, DC, my favorite baseball and football teams were both in Minnesota. I loved the Twins because, even though I had never seen him swing a bat, I thought Kirby Puckett was cool. I got into the Vikings because I liked their uniforms. And because I had the cards and the games, I could learn the names of everyone on their roster, their strengths and weaknesses, their backstories. So when the Vikings came to Washington during the 1989 preseason, I wanted desperately to go, and my dad took me. Even though it was an exhibition game, just being at the same stadium with this team that I adored, made it an unforgettable experience. And because I already knew who all the players were, their skills and specialties, I didn’t have to be distracted by leafing through the program or squinting to read the players’ names on their jerseys. I could just be present, and root, root, root for the visiting team. As you’ll hear in my conversation today, a cross-departmental team at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have set out to create a similar experience for visitors to their exhibitions. If you work in the museum industry, there’s a good chance you’ve seen one of their digital stories. Maybe it was de Young’s Teotihuacan story or the Legion of Honor’s Degas story. These long-form narrative pieces, supplemented with rich media elements, tell the stories of these exhibitions in immersive and captivating ways. And like many people who have interacted with these stories, you may have wondered, how could my institution do something like this? I spoke with two of the people behind the digital stories to learn more about the collaboration, planning, and production that goes into making this platform a success. Tricia Robson is the Director of Digital Strategy and Emily Jennings is the Associate Director of Education, School, and Family Programs. They joined me over Skype.
What's On: The Cuberis Podcast
Genre
Government
Episodes
15
Frequency
This show is on a break or finished.
Website
cuberis.com/whats-on/blog/
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