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Beyond the Museum

 Wellcome Collection's curiosity roadshow.

For the last four days, our “twitter dwelling” has been dominated by one thing: Museum Week’s seven-day international tweetathon. A feed full of gloriously inspirational, insightful and engaging content pulled together under unifying hash tags, celebrating the wonder of museums and culture from across the world.

What captivated us so much about this was the demonstration of creative communication and the opportunity museums and galleries have to engage with their visitors, new and old, beyond four walls. This was something that resonated with us. For the past 14 years True North has collaborated with a range of similar organisations to develop strategic and creative ways to engage their audiences, and have been fascinated by how the use of social has liberated institutions and created a new form of curation. 

It’s something we have thought a lot about recently, for a range of clients, but one in particular that posed a rather unique challenge. In 2013 we were commissioned by Wellcome Collection to communicate their redevelopment project to their 500,000+ visitors. What was unusual about this was that the building would remain completely open throughout renovation and so posed an intriguing brief in articulation. How do you retain a branded experience when a venue is under construction?

‘Be Part of our Curious Journey’ was the creative idea, inviting visitors in the gallery and beyond, to join in and become part of the transformation. Curiosity is so much of what the Wellcome Collection is about and so this became the central thread, unifying a range of messages and events providing visitors with an experience that was in keeping with the existing Wellcome Collection brand.

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Curiosity was brought to life across the building with hoardings defying the traditional closed for business notices, instead becoming installations in their own right. But it was online that played a crucial role in engaging visitors and creating participatory experiences that weren’t always feasible in a building under renovation.

Social media, in particular, was key in ensuring existing audiences were kept engaged and connected by posing questions fortnightly. Each question linking to Wellcome’s vast collection or a range of topics: Science, Art, Humanity. 

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What this week has reinforced, and our collaboration with Wellcome Collection has perfectly demonstrated, is that museums no longer live behind bricks and mortar but have the power to reach audiences around their city, their country and the world.

For more information on Wellcome Collections redevelopment read Fran fascinating article or explore Curious conversations on Wellcome Collection’s storify.

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