Connecting Community with Behind-the-Scenes Access at NMAAHC

Last Tuesday, 08 September, I hosted the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) researcher Tulani Salahu-din in a live behind-the-scenes event. The livestream Google+ Hangout allowed audiences to learn how Baldwin’s correspondence and personal items were acquired – as well as how Baldwin’s work is integrated into the inaugural “Making A Way” gallery.

Here’s a Storify of how it unfolded on Twitter – thanks to great collaboration with NMAAHC staff & boss social media team:

Though I often host behind-the-scenes events, this was the first opportunity to connect our Transcription Center volunteers to the wider audience of a museum. Our Smithsonian Transcription Center volunteers completed the James Baldwin Collection in July, and they were keen to hear about the real museum work behind it. Here’s the hangout :

We had 40+ concurrent viewers of the program; they stayed with us for an average of 17 minutes. At the end of the 50 minute hangout, we also launched a new transcription project detailing Annie Malone’s Poro College that closed on Friday morning – in just 2.5 days. Our staff and audience found it easy to participate and learned from each other. Success all around!

I’m looking forward to discussing the practical aspects of this event and the ways it fits into a wider program of community management and coordinating all the things. I’ll share these thoughts and more with fellow experts in community building on October 1 in Washington, D.C. Hosted by DigiLab, the panel features tangible examples and best practice – please join us to learn more!