While many may view the museum world as artifacts behind glass, hushed tones and closed doors, Meghan Walsh hopes to change that.
The Museum Management and Curatorship graduate, Class of 2016, is the Digital Content Coordinator at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. In her newly created role within the Marketing Department, Meghan manages the Museum‚Äôs Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Blogger pages, creating engaging content for events, exhibitions and services.
‚ÄúSocial media has a huge impact on the museum world,‚ÄĚ said Meghan. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs opened up not only the reach of museums in regards to marketing and advertising for events and services, but it‚Äôs opened up the possibility of access to the amazing collections that museums have.‚ÄĚ
Meghan added that this online space for interaction has proved beneficial, saying, ‚ÄúWe’ve had many people contact us through social media, providing us with information about an archival photo we posted that we can then add to our database records. The potential is truly endless.‚ÄĚ
The Fleming College graduate said her favourite part of the job is exploring behind-the-scenes at the Whyte Museum.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve experimented with two Facebook Live video sessions, giving people behind-the-scenes tours of exhibits as they are installed and afterwards,‚ÄĚ said Meghan. ‚ÄúI was also lucky enough to accompany our Curatorial Assistant on a tour of the collections facility with a group of immigrant women from all over the world participating in a writing workshop called the Shoe Project. Seeing the women’s reactions to some of the artifacts, eager to learn more about the stories behind them, was fantastic to see.‚ÄĚ
Although this is Meghan‚Äôs first time working in the Marketing Department, it is not her first time working at the Whyte Museum. The Museum Management and Curatorship grad completed her Fleming College program internship there, gaining experience in the Heritage/Art Department and the Archives/Library Department.
‚ÄúThe staff were amazing and really mentored me– not only in the technical skills that I needed to do my job, but also in the career skills needed to succeed in my future career,‚ÄĚ she said.
After graduating from Fleming College, Meghan worked as the Curatorial Assistant for the City of Greater Sudbury Museums on a one-year contract and then took a six-month contract at the Whyte Museum, where she worked as the Collections Management Coordinator for the Alpine Club of Canada Library Collection. From there, she stayed on at the Whyte Museum in the new Digital Content Coordinator position.
‚ÄúThe Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming definitely prepared me for my current position,‚ÄĚ said Meghan. ‚ÄúThe simple fact that I had the chance to learn about social media in museums first-hand through the Education and Public Programming course of the MMC program gave me great experience. It was also basically what initially planted the seed in my brain about the potential behind social media in museums.‚Äô
‚ÄėAlso, the experience that I gained in the MMC program in regards to all the different departments of a museum gave me an advantage because Marketing and Communications does deal with every department and it’s important to have a basic understanding of how they function and what their purpose is,‚ÄĚ she said.