#MuseumWeek is a great way to collaborate with your colleagues and create publications together. We talked to Arina Gundrova, senior research assistant at the Museum and Exhibition Complex of Moscow Region “New Jerusalem”, who took part in the event for the first time.

Cooperation is the key

I was the one to initiate the participation and I am thrilled with the results we have had so far: the level of interest, participation and involvement has broken records for us. We can observe several trends concerning the topics and we will surely analyse the week’s activity and note down points for further reflection. Nevertheless, there is one important aspect for newcomers to consider before registering for future Museum Weeks. Results are going to be astonishing and inspiring with one condition: COOPERATION is the key.

How to motivate your colleagues to participate

When we were first introduced to the concept of the week, the curator of the Russian sector Anna Mikhailova highlighted the necessity of explaining the crucial role of the week to colleagues and I would like to stress the same point. This week can make your institution’s audience grow and expand, it can allow you to understand your followers and visitors better, it can help you enter the international community but only if that was a consolidated effort.

Examples? This year’s partnership with UNESCO was a serious argument for joining the week, former activity of leading cultural institutions in your country can also help you encourage your colleagues. Most importantly, an SMM-manager should show that it is not only for researchers and scholars to contribute: talk to tour guides, try to involve least known and least visible members of staff (in our case it was a lawyer, for example, who is an amazing artist). It is useful if a person who suggests participating in any major event comes up with ideas and projects beforehand not to leave everything to the colleagues’ imagination: think of topics that can be suitable for a certain department, consider various forms of presenting the data and state which aspects you are going to take upon yourself personally.

Such events can help teambuilding if carried out properly.

Do not force anybody. First, the content should be unique, fascinating and well-thought through, hence an unencouraged individual can never provide that. Second, unwilling participation as extra work-load will hardly make you popular. Let that person see the first results and he or she may suggest joining voluntarily.

Find common ground and purpose. Every department has specific interests and you can encourage them to pursue their goals as part of the event, e.g. promotion of a current or future exhibition, talking about exhibits that cannot be currently showcased, distinguishing particular achievements or simply giving credit for years of service.

Serve as an example: enthusiasm is contagious. Well, this one is simple: keep talking of what an amazing opportunity for your institution that is and do not be afraid to “get your hands dirty”. For instance, I have used a brush and paints for the first time in roughly ten years to create a photo-zone with my two way more creative and talented colleagues. I was running around the museum covered in paint elbow-deep and was surprisingly excited about that.

As a final touch, make sure to report to your colleagues what you have achieved during the event: draw up some stats to prove the success. It can overcome their expectations and fill you all with inspiration for the whole year until the next Museum week.