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Thursday, November 12 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Bright Spots: Creating Social Media Moments of Joy During a Pandemic

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During the earlier days of the pandemic and while death rates reached their peaks, museums and cultural organizations shuttered their doors. While institutions turned their focus to engaging with audiences virtually, some museums created campaigns to offer a reprieve from a bleak news cycle. These institutions elicited unexpected joy, humor, and moments of kindness—sorely needed by online communities. Join staff from the New-York Historical Society, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Smithsonian’s National Zoo to explore four digital storytelling campaigns that reached record audiences during the pandemic.

The New-York Historical Society and Hirshhorn Museum combined forces to send virtual flowers from their collections to museum colleagues around the globe for #MuseumBouquet, and followed the campaign by shedding virtual sunshine before Earth Day with sunny works for #MuseumSunshine.

The Shedd Aquarium let their penguins roam free through their exhibits to the delight of online audiences. News of the penguins went viral on social media and in the press. The jaunts of one penguin named Wellington earned himself the hashtag #WheresWellingtonWednesday. The penguins interacted with wildlife elsewhere in the space that they would never encounter in nature.

In response to the Shedd’s penguins, the Field Museum rolled out a series of “unSUEpervised” videos wherein an inflatable SUE the T. rex ran amok through empty exhibitions and office spaces. SUE’s visit to the Hall of Birds was covered by E! News and CNN, and the series of videos has been watched over 1.69 million times.

In efforts to “bring the zoo to you,” the National Zoo’s Cub Cam offered a real-time view of four, fuzzy cheetah cubs born April 8 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Online audiences tuned in for the birth, were invited to vote on names for the cubs, and are following their growth through #CheetahCubdates and #NatZooZen on social media.

These cultural organizations span living collections, natural history, American history, and contemporary art. Although each of these institutions have a different mission and focus, each tapped into the public’s need for joy during a turbulent time.

avatar for Emily Haight

Emily Haight

Senior Social Media Manager, New-York Historical Society
Emily Haight is the Social Media Manager at the New-York Historical Society. Previously, Emily managed social media, e-communications, planned advertising, and designed and coordinated graphic materials at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. She also previously managed social... Read More →
avatar for Katharine Uhrich

Katharine Uhrich

Senior Social Media Manager, Field Museum
Hello! As social media manager at the Field, I share the work, mission, and stories of one of the world’s largest natural history museums with the general public. I strive to create a social presence that’s engaging, inclusive, and educational. Ask me about how we're successfully... Read More →

Hilary-Morgan Watt

Digital Engagement Manager, Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hilary-Morgan Watt is the Digital Engagement Manager for the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. With 15 years of experience in museums and galleries, Ms. Watt has led digital strategy workshops across the Smithsonian and lectured at the State Department, George... Read More →
avatar for Annalisa Meyer

Annalisa Meyer

Deputy Director of Communications, Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
National award-winning communicator with 20-years’ experience creating successful integrated communications campaigns. Media relations pro, digital strategist and big picture thinker passionate about crafting powerful stories to engage target audiences and bring key messages to... Read More →

Thursday November 12, 2020 11:00am - 12:00pm EST
Live stream channel 2