The purpose of this research is to analyse the art museums in Moscow and their usage of social media platforms in order to engage the audiences and attract public. The study is focused on the changes in museums’ life and their functions that happened as the result of shift from an ‘old’ to a ‘new museology’. The proponents of new museology emphasize that museums are affected by the growing importance of their visitors and need to shift toward many-to-many communication. The main aim is to compare traditional museums with the history of more than a century with the new upcoming ones. The notion of Bildung and cultural institutions historically rooted devotion to the cultivation of the society is used as an important point of this comparison. Based on Bourdieu’s social theory and the idea of struggle for organizational legitimacy it was assumed that the recently established cultural institutions that were introduced in the visitor-centered society would differ from the incumbents and may influence the changes in communication with the visitors. However, there are certain conventional procedures of the field that need to be followed in order to gain respect form the colleagues and audience. Therefore, the paper needs to see whether the difference between the new and traditional institutions is still significant. The analysis is based on the 4 interviews with museum representatives, who work on the development of social media marketing, as well as on 395 media posts, collected from Facebook and Instagram. The sequential multimethod design helps to cover the problem from different perspectives and acquire deeper knowledge of museum practices related to social media: analyse both the goals and actual content. The PR managers’ perception of the social media goals revealed that the difference certainly exists, but both traditional and upcoming museums are influenced by the era of edutainment and need to work for wider more diverse audiences, than they were used in the past – the ‘elitist’ connotation of art museums is blurring. Besides, emerging museums have more freedom to experiment, be creative and innovative while established have strict reputation and more expectations toward their activities. The research also revealed that channel choice plays important role, because each platform has its specific audiences and same museum needs to elaborate different tactics and content for each media platform. Furthermore, museums, especially traditional ones, still do not use the full potential presented by social media and maintain quite formal communication.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, culture, society, museums, Russia, social media management, Web 2.0, marketing
Thesis Advisor M. Willekens
Persistent URL
Series Media, Culture & Society
T. Stankovic. (2018, June 25). Art museums engaging audiences on social media: the difference between established and recently opened museums. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from