Photo credit: Scott Billings

Museum of Natural History, Oxford

Rachel Parle, 15.04.2014
When the Museum of Natural History in Oxford closed for roof restorations last year, we worried that our visitors might forget us.

With our T-rex in a box and Victorian architecture concealed by scaffolding, social media looked like a possible solution; could we remind people that we were still here and show them a different, more playful side to the museum at the same time? It was worth a try.

We launched a closure blog, Darkened not Dormant, to show that there was still plenty happening in the museum during the closure. It revealed the mystery behind some Victorian graffiti found high in the roof, followed film crews on set in the museum and tracked the education team’s rural outreach programme.

Next up was Twitter. We were a little late to the party, but our carefully chosen @morethanadodo handle got us noticed straight away and we soon built up a loyal following of dodo disciples.

On 15 February we reopened after 14 months under wraps. Since then we’ve had a surge of new Twitter followers and also launched on Instagram.

Darkened not Dormant is now archived and the challenge for our new blog, More than a Dodo, is to maintain a flow of special stories now it’s back to business as usual in the museum.

We want to steer clear of simply promoting our events programme, so look out for hidden stories and insights into the workings of the museum instead.

Rachel Parle is the interpretation and education officer at Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History