Sustaining Places

Resources for small museums and historic sites

Public Relations and Marketing

Managing Contacts

Constant Contact makes it easy to send e-newsletters, announcements, and surveys as well as advertise programs and events.

MailChimp, similar to Constant Contact, allows you to manage campaigns and subscriptions and create e-newsletters.  MailChimp offers a free account option.

Social Media Policies & Guidelines

As you develop your social media presence, you need to consider ways to guide this activity or things can get out of control. This Social Media Policy Handbook from the folks at Idealware can help.

The Virginia Association of Museums has published this brief guide How to Create a Social Media Policy for Your Museum.  It discusses social media concerns for the small museum and offers as an example, the social media policy of VAM.

These two blog posts from the Center of the Future of Museums highlight the creative ways that museums can use social media.  Both posts discuss using a museum “celebrity” or gimmick to gain attention online and to educate the public in fun ways.

It’s Not About the Cat Cams
Natural History Specimens as Social Media Celebrities

The Western Museums Association blog features four brief video interviews with museum technology experts who discuss creating a social media strategy and the benefits of social media use. The third video, about determining who will speak for the museum on social media, is particularly relevant for institutions just establishing an online presence.

The Minnesota Historical Society provides a five-page slideshow of social media worksheets that museums can download and use. It discusses topics like social media goals, target audiences, the use of various social media sites. The worksheets also provide spaces for museum personnel to write their own ideas on the given topics.

This article uses the San Diego Zoo as a case study to discuss effective use of social media. It highlights the tactics that the Zoo does well in its use of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs.

From the New England Museum Association, here is a webinar on “Marketing Your Museum on a Shoestring.”

Blogs to read

Marketing Historic Sites, Heidi Glatfelter – Although this blog is now inactive, its archive is a good resource.

Social Media Tools (Platform Specific)

Be sure to visit the Help page for each platform for tips, policies, and troubleshooting.  Review them periodically as policies change.

This website is a user-friendly beginner’s guide to using Facebook. It teaches organizations how to market themselves using Facebook and explains the uses of Facebook pages, profiles, and events.

Museummedia’s article by Jim Richardson is an excellent guide for museums who are getting started on Twitter.

The Virginia Association of Museums offers the handbook Why Should a Museum Start a Blog?  It discusses various approaches to consider for museum blogs, appropriate content, and platforms friendly to the new blogger.


Many social media platforms and online tools have an evaluation feature.  Google Analytics is widely used for gathering data and generating reports and measuring the success of your online campaigns.  The results can be presented to your board or used to improve outreach and fundraising efforts.

HootSuite is a social media management program and features an evaluation tool to gather data about your various social media profiles.  The results can be used to determine which social media platforms work best of your site.


Mailing Address

University of Delaware
Museum Studies Program, Sustaining Places
77 E. Main St.
Newark, DE 19711