Web sites that offer a virtual space for people to share a common experience, exhibit or interest, thereby creating and facilitating an online community. These sites can target either a broad-based or niche audience and contribute to the process of social networking.
Jury Chair: Christa Cliver
Director of Business Development and Marketing, Acoustiguide, Inc., a subsidiary of the Espro Acoustiguide Group
GOLD: The 80s are Back Exhibition and Online Presence
The Powerhouse Museum
Judges said: We were all impressed with the use of social media and how it was put to use. Building the exhibition, curating the exhibition and then visitors responding to the exhibition through social media outlets – all generating an engaging digital community. We appreciated that the Museum took time to reevaluate the components and made the decision to pull their Flickr group when it was not “gelling” with the virtual community. The interactive components are really fun – voting on movies, sharing memories, learning fun facts about the influential trends in pop culture – make for an engaging online experience.
Producers said: The 80s Are Back, at the Powerhouse Museum. This exhibition, and the resulting website and online presence, was developed through a heavy and integrated use of social media. Even before the exhibition was confirmed, the curators ran a blog, called for images on Flickr, and for leads and object loans on a Facebook page. In fact almost 50% of the exhibition’s objects were loaned from fan communities. Just before launch the website switched to an exhibition-catalogue style of site, based on the idea of a magazine covering 80s music, subcultures, video games and more. These mini-essays (some up to 3000 words) were sourced from fan communities and continued to be released over the run of the exhibition as public events occurred in and around the museum itself.
After launch the social media presence of the site expanded to a dedicated Twitter feed, complimenting the Facebook page. The Flickr group was shutdown after it didn’t gel with the community and an attempt to crowdsource feedback from within the exhibition itself using YouTube ended up being replaced with semi-pro interviews. There were even experiments with a Twitter ‘request line’ tweeting out song requests via Blip.fm.
SILVER: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello and Night Kitchen Interactive
Judges said: This site is a great example of how social media can extend the visitor’s experience through an ongoing dialog. The cross posting of content from Museum staff, the public and historical experts really brings a wonderful wealth of viewpoints, information and entrance into the time of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The jury found many of the public posts to be delightful and fun which balance nicely with the staff posts.
Producers said: Monticello.org sets an example for other cultural institutions seeking ways to engage with their audiences online. Most organizations recognize the value of social media but are uncertain as to how to facilitate such interactions online. They are also accustomed to having an authoritative institutional voice. By allowing social interactions to occur throughout the website, Monticello.org demonstrates an unprecedented use of social media by a historical and cultural heritage institution.
By integrating the voices of individual staff members into Monticello’s web presence, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation has created a more multidimensional institutional voice that will encourage visitors, scholars, students, and Jefferson enthusiasts to participate in its community both online and on-site.
Ultimately, the new website achieves the Foundation’s goal of promoting on-site visitation to Monticello and expanding its audience reach by creating a vibrant online destination that engages a global audience in dialogue around Jefferson’s ideas, the Monticello house and gardens, and plantation life.
BRONZE: Constitution Daily
National Constitution Center and Technically Media
Judges said: The jury found that this conversational platform focusing on the US Constitution facilitated a wonderful online dialogue. We liked that the site serves as a “switchboard” for information, blog posts, social media outlets and relevant external links that keep the user tied to the site and engaged with the content while providing easy outlets to take action.
Producers said: As the American public increasingly desires civility in our political discourse, the National Constitution Center saw an opportunity to produce original, well-researched and thought provoking essays, blog posts and multimedia to help foster intelligent discussion.
The site contains dozens of features to encourage smart comments on current events.
Constitution Daily features posts written by the staff of the National Constitution Center, as well as accomplished authors, scholars, and partners. During the blog’s alpha phase, special guest bloggers included: author and contributor to CNN and The Daily Beast John Avlon; Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times Adam Liptak; Dr. Rogers M. Smith, the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania; and Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at The University of Chicago and a Visiting Scholar at the National Constitution Center.
Director of Visitor Services, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Vice President, Brand and Marketing, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Josh Lucas Falk
Associate VP, Digital Learning, Museum of Arts and Design
Manager of Interpretive Media, Education, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Deputy Director for Development, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
Project Manager, San Francisco Arts Commision
Pauline Fong Martinez
Visitor Services Manager, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Assistant Curator for Web Projects, The Jewish Museum
Director of Visitor Experience and Interpretation, The Walt Disney Family Museum