Trip Planning: Museums on Twitter

Travel Blog  •  Jenna Schnuer  •  04.15.09 | 9:34 AM ET

Photo by biskuit via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The experiment: ignore various, er, discussions over whether Twitter is good, distracting, or evil and find other ways to use it to enhance future travel experiences and planning. Since I tend to like museums big, small, and flat-out odd, I figured I would see what some U.S. museums are doing with it.

I’ll admit, I didn’t use the most scientific of methods. I searched Twitter for the term “museum” and, click by click by click, signed up for the first couple dozen on the list.

The information started to drip, drab, and, in some cases, flow in. Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, famous for its jars of medical oddities, was (and I love this!) offering free health screenings (@MutterMuseum); Northport, Alabama’s Kentuck Museum (@KentuckMuseum) wanted you to put its April 24 poetry festival on your calendar; and Baltimore’s Walters Museum (@walters_museum) offered up a behind-the-scenes photo of an intern working on a Roman sarcophagus and an invitation to its college night with “mash-up DJ artists, tours, & more!”

Of course, just like many new users on Twitter, some museums haven’t quite found their voice yet. They’re not at the useful stage. (Seriously, anybody out there who acts as an official poster* for a museum, please please please remember to post about events before they happen, don’t just mock us with “wow! great event!” posts about events of days past. And please don’t post as though you’re the actual physical building typing. It’s overly precious. Besides, buildings can’t type. Oh and…it would be great if, in the bio section, you could tell us who you are—curator? marketing intern? security guard?)

That said, the museums on Twitter experience is, so far, more yay than blah. There’s a good chance I’ll plan some future trips based on the things I’ve learned. I mean, I already knew I loved Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Hunter Museum of American Art (@HunterMuseum) but now I also want to go see the raccoon that lives “on the small ledge below the museum and 80 ft above the water.” I wonder what they’ll end up naming him.

So, follow any museums on Twitter? If so, which ones and why? (Museums checking in—feel free to leave your Twitter name in the comments section so we can all find out what your curators have in store for us.)

*Please note the lack of “words” like twitterer, tweet, and, (shudder) tweeple in this piece. While I refuse to judge the overall Twitter on travel experience, I beg of all of you: stop using these words. They’re horrible. People is a perfectly good word. Tweeple is not.