May 11, 2020|Tips|3 minutes

Our top five museum youtube channels

A roundup of everything from tipsy curator talks to in-depth glass blowing videos

A youtube channel can become a great way for a museum or gallery to connect with their audience … but it can also be a big drain on time and resources with minimal payoff. As venues look for ways to grow their audiences during and post-lockdown knowing what works is more important than ever. Below is a roundup of our favourite museum youtube channels. You’ll notice that each of the below videos is part of a series. Establishing what your audience can expect from your youtube channel and experimenting with form is a great way to begin growing your account.

The Frick Collection - Cocktails with a Curator

A practical lockdown phenomenon, the Frick Collection’s ‘Cocktails with a Curator’ series sees the museum host a 5pm virtual happy hour each Friday. Each week one of the museum's curators discusses a piece of work live with a complimentary cocktail - think 18th century German furniture paired with a Kir Royale. The series exemplifies a simple approach to digital museum engagement in a fun format. With views for each video coming in at around the 30k mark the Frick Collection has certainly found its format.

Charleston House Museum - Charleston Festival

Charleston in Sussex is the former home of the Bloomsbury group. This year Charleston’s summer festival was held online with virtual conversations and events that are now on youtube. The festival brings together artists, writers, thinkers and changemakers just as the Bloomsbury group did around the Charleston dining room table 100 years ago. The videos from the 10 day event show how an online event can become an invaluable digital asset and include interviews with Salman Rushdie, Tom Stoppard and Ai Weiwei!

Corning Museum of Glass - Watch with the Artist

One of the key approaches with all types of digital engagement is to stay true to your museum and brand. The Corning Museum of Glass does this particularly well. On their youtube channel among other shorter videos you can also find videos between 1-2 hours long of the glass blowing process! Each episode of ‘Watch with the Artist’ focuses on a different artists' process and works perfectly for youtube where ‘satisfying’ videos reign as King.

Art Institute Chicago - Art Institute Essentials Tour

In contrast to the Corning Museum of Glass’ two hour long process videos, the Art Institute Chicago shows how bitesize videos can also be a great way to create content. The ‘Art Institute Essentials Tour’ highlights key works in the collection. Each video is a mini deep dive into the work pulling together information about composition, art historical context and theory - all in the space of 2.5 minutes!

Rijks Museum - #RijksmuseumUnlocked

Throughout lockdown the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has been running the #RijksmuseumUnlocked programme on youtube. Working in a similar way to other deepdive videos the Rijksmuseum cleverly intersperses artwork closeups with shots of the presenter exploring the empty museum. The result is a satisfying, information series that not only brings you deeper into the collection but introduces you to the museum staff working everyday behind the scenes.

written by

Molly Skinner

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