Blogging about museums is a relatively new and yet to be discovered field of museums. We got to talk to Mina Karagianni-Gkritzali, or museum.ephemera on Instagram and give us some insider tips.

Mina is an Athens-based curator and museologist that has collaborated with many important Greek museums and organisations like the Jewish Museum of Greece, Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre and the Municipal Gallery of Mykonos and has experience with organizing university researches in collaboration with high profile universities in Greece. In February 2016, in a family gathering in London she decided after months of planning to create the blog museum.ephemera.

This profile is “a space that museum buildings and museum events (exhibitions, shops, speeches and bazaars) are represented”. Through this account, she felt the need to share her love for Museum (as a notion, a space or a mission) and how it can be represented. She chose Instagram instead of a conventional blog due to the power of image and the combination of a short text that can inform eloquently. This is also an instagramer’s challenge; to attract potential visitors with an image and a small text. “I want to show people who do not visit museums, what they are, how they work, what they exhibit and to be informed about exhibitions that I find interesting and make them visit them”.

What is presented in museum.ephemera? Is there any criteria?

It presents exhibitions of Greek museums, of metropolitan centres and around them and exhibitions in countries that I visit, mostly European. The past years I have travelled in further places but unfortunately Instagram did not exist back then. Also, we host exhibitions that are suggested by close coworkers that we enjoy their choices. At times, we have accepted photos from people that we interact on Instagram and this shows the power of this medium. There are times that I feel the need to upload (even though I feel guilty) something different from what our followers are used to, like a beautiful landscape, a beautiful and strange building or a special item. This is the problem with accounts like mine but the feature of “stories” have solved this in a way.

Do you think that museums and cultural organisations should be open to social media?

The social media cover an important part of our everyday time and are almost the dominant medium of our information. If we disregard the extremity, it is a common sense that museums should have not only a profile but also try to use in the best way possible their features. Greek museums have started one by one to be open to social media depending on their priorities. We need to understand the great difficulties and the lack of funding especially for the Greek museums that face a harsh economic period. Additionally, the foreign museums cover this field by assigning it to someone or to a department that adopts the most innovative methods and at times allow artists or people of the social media to manage their accounts which is quite successful. Especially for Instagram, a “neighborhood” of about 500 million and more users that is developed in popularity can be understood as a possible market. Museums need to update regularly their program, share interesting topics but also take their time to read and reply to their followers’ comments. All these actions, increase their connection with the community and attract more visitors.