In 2010, museum consultant and MuseumNext founder Jim Richardson launched #AskACurator Day on Twitter as a fun way to connect the general public and cultural institutions on social media. #AskACurator encourages people to ask curators and other experts questions about their work and the items in their care, with answers posted throughout the day on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. September 16th, 2020 marked the ten-year anniversary of this popular annual social media event that involves museums, galleries, libraries, archives, aquariums, zoos, and heritage sites around the world. According to data collected by James Morley @jamesinealing for this year’s #AskACurator event, over 5,000 tweeters published more than 12,500 tweets on Twitter using the hashtags #askacurator and #askacuratorday. Responses to questions came from cultural institutions and individuals scattered across six continents (Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, and Australia).
From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16th, Audubon Museum Curator Heidi Taylor-Caudill answered questions about the museum and its collection through the John James Audubon State Park Twitter account @JJAStatePark. Heidi published 22 tweets, which earned 2,700 impressions (the number of times users saw a tweet on Twitter). It was the first time the Audubon Museum had participated in #AskACurator Day and marked another effort by the museum this year to promote its collection to a wider audience.
Below are Heidi’s responses to 10 #AskACurator questions that day, which included interesting inquiries like “do you have any cats in your collection” and “is your museum haunted?”
Have you thought of something you’d like to ask, but you didn’t get a chance on #AskACurator Day? No worries! You can always send your question directly to Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (270) 826-2247 ext. 233.
Question 1: I want to see more collection objects that best encapsulate 2020!
Question 2: What’s the largest object in your collection?
Question 3: What object sparks your imagination the most and why?
Question 4: If the apocalypse happened and the government said you can send one item to a secure vault for safe keeping for potential future generations, what piece would you send and why?
Question 5: Obviously there’s lots of birds in your collection, but what about cats?
Question 6: Is your museum haunted?
Question 7: What’s your favorite print from The Birds of America?
Question 8: If you could only save one object from a fire, what would it be?
Question 9: What’s your favorite room in the museum?
Question 10: If you weren’t a curator, what job would you do?
This blog post was written by Heidi Taylor-Caudill, Curator of the John James Audubon State Park Museum.