Much has been written about how museums (and non-profits in general) can make use of Pinterest as a tool for reaching audiences. Museums are in the business of displaying objects, and Pinterest is a user-friendly way to share images of objects from a museum’s collection, including objects not currently on display in the physical museum. While certainly not the be-all-and-end-all of user access to digitized collections, Pinterest is one of many useful tools for museums and museum-lovers.
Anyone can join Pinterest and use the site to make their own collection of images. Thus, professional/hobbyists can put together their own collections of museum objects based on their particular interests. In my case, I made a board of pictures of dogs and cats from my Weekly Museum Visits. Looking at these images all at once, I can see the variety of contexts in which pets are part of several museums. What are these dogs and cats doing, besides being adorable?
- In art museums, they are the subjects of paintings, carvings, and sculptures.
- In historic house museums, they are in photos of the once-residents’ beloved pets, they are decorative motifs, and they are memorialized in a pet cemetery.
- In history museums, dogs are the companions and/or service dogs of historical figures.
- In science museums, they are part of an exhibit about mammalian evolution.
- They are miniatures in dollhouses, train gardens, and Nativity scenes.
- They are depicted in children’s toys and books.
- They are found on items for sale in the gift shop.
- Some history museums show sketches of old town scenes with people, horses, and sometimes a dog frolicking and looking up expectantly at the people.
- A cat in mannequin form helps set the scene in a historic train station.
- In a political cartoon from the Civil War era, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis are portrayed as cats.
Museums themselves have also made Pinterest boards to share dogs and cats in their collections with audiences. Here are some that I found:
Archives of American Art, Dog Days
- Dallas Museum of Art, Dog Days
- Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, The Animals of Hillwood (including many dogs)
- Manchester Museum, Breed: The British & their Dogs
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cat: Muse, Symbol, Deity
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Dog: Emblem, Performer, Friend
- National Postal Museum, Pets and the Post: Dogs
- Newseum, First Dogs Gallery
- Smithsonian Folkways, Music About Pets
- Vietnam Memorial, Military Mutts (while not collection-specific, well worth looking at)
- Walters Art Museum, Cats
Do you follow any museums on Pinterest? Do you have a favorite board?
February’s blog theme is Visitor Motivations.