Schallaburg is a Renaissance castle and museum in Lower Austria that puts on a themed exhibition every year. Exhibitions usually run from about March to November and are incredibly elaborate and immersive.
Topics in recent years have ranged from the Vikings to the era of the 70s, to the history and culture of Islam in Austria. Aside from enjoying the great storytelling within the exhibition, visitors can get involved at interactive stations, as well as workshops and events.
“Crafty Hands” exhibition at Schallaburg
The 2019 exhibition was, to quote to the Schallaburg website, “an exhibition about the wonder of the human hand” and featured anything and everything created by human hands, from necessary tools to artistic work.
The exhibition’s German name “Der Hände Werk” loosely translates to “hands’ work”, as in something we have created using our hands. The exhibition’s English-language title was “Crafty Hands”.
For the first time ever, Schallaburg combined the exhibition with a social media element by setting up a social wall for people to post their own work to.
We talked to Erwin Klinglhuber, Schallaburg’s Head of Marketing, to find out more about the hashtag campaign that accompanied the exhibition.
Head of Marketing
What was the idea behind the social media campaign #meinerhändewerk? How did you come up with it?
The idea for the social media campaign #MeinerHändeWerk emerged during our preparations for this year’s exhibition “Der Hände Werk”.
The exhibition pays homage to our hands and that which we create with them. We took a closer look at the skills all our team members bring to the table. And we thought that it would be great to involve our visitors as well and ask them about their particular skills and their hands’ accomplishments.
Our social media campaign invites visitors to post their work using the hashtag #MeinerHändeWerk.
How is #MeinerHändeWerk integrated with the exhibition proper?
The contributions to #MeinerHändeWerk are part of our exhibition. They’re displayed on a social wall in the showroom called “Self Empowerment 4.0”.
Why did you decide to set up a social wall?
Schallaburg Castle is not just an exhibition centre but also a place of interaction. The contents of our exhibitions invite visitors to consciously look at relevant topics, to start a dialogue and actively participate in the content they experience. If this process continues after leaving the exhibition, then that’s even better.
We wanted visitors to have a way to show their own creations using photos and came up with the idea of a hashtag campaign on Instagram. But we didn’t want to limit the experience to those who have an Instagram account. So we looked for a way to show the posts on a screen within the exhibition as well. We decided to go with a social wall by Walls.io.
How are you promoting the hashtag and motivating people to post their work?
Before the exhibition had even opened, we kicked off the campaign by promoting it on Instagram and Facebook. Once the season had begun, our guides let visitors know about the campaign. We also promoted the campaign at various events, such as one of our workshops where visitors get to try their hand at old techniques and new trends.
How do you feel about the success of the hashtag? The contributions are incredibly varied, from baked goods to intricate craftsmanship. How does that fit with the exhibition?
We’re incredibly happy that so many visitors have shared their hands’ work with us. The exhibition shines a spotlight on hands and what we create with them. Our hands are involved in so many different things, a variety of tasks that we can’t even remotely hope to cover in the exhibition. This is why it’s so great that the community has branched out with the hashtag.
Why is it so important to make room for people’s own creations and making them a part of the exhibition?
It’s getting more and more important to interact with the people who come to view an exhibition. For us at Schallaburg, that involves a dialogue between the visitors and us. Furthermore, the interactive stations in the exhibition allow people to delve further into the topic.
The current topic “Der Hände Werk” is something every visitor can relate to and identify with as an individual. The social media campaign opens up an additional “showroom” to present those diverse and personal topics that contribute to “Der Hände Werk”.
Modern museums open a dialogue with visitors
And in an ever-changing cultural landscape, museums can’t afford to remain stagnant. Everything changes, and so must the tools of the trade. More and more museums and cultural institutions are embracing social media as one such tool.
Social media offers many ways and creative outlets for combining traditional and modern methods of imparting knowledge about history, culture and art.
Social walls are a great way to involve visitors and let them interact with an exhibition. It also opens a dialogue with the museum, further opening the doors for constant change.
Fortunately, Schallaburg isn’t the first museum to reap the benefits of social walls. The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh ran a hashtag campaign to accompany a photography exhibition, which you can read more about in our #CMOArealday showcase.
But these are just two examples of using social media at a museum. I’m confident that our customers are going to come up with plenty of other creative ways to uplift exhibitions with hashtags and social walls.
Featured image photo credit: Martina Siebenhandl