Auckland War Memorial Museum has embraced social media to great effect and now has a global award under its belt as reward for its efforts.
The museum won the Social Media prize at the 2012 Museums and Web Awards in San Diego thanks to its use of technology and storytelling to bring to life a marine research exhibition to the Kermadec Islands.
“This is a real milestone for us. It’s external endorsement that we are capable of providing compelling online content alongside everything we do, onsite and in the community,” said the museum's director of ICT and digital media, Karen Mason.
The Kermadec Expedition Blog shared real time events of the 21-day research trip to New Zealand’s largest marine reserve in May 2011. The biodiversity expedition discovered 17 new species for the area, including several fish completely new to science.
Judges were impressed by how the blog bridged the gap between the online public and off-site research activities, taking followers on a journey of discover as photos and videos from the trip were uploaded for people at home to see.
The research team were able to share their adventure by encouraging questions ranging from fellow scientists to young children about the new findings – no mean feat considering the team uploaded content from a boat surrounded by remote volcanic Islands, 900km north-east of New Zealand.
The Kermadec blog racked up 10,400 views over a one-month period and 200 comments were received on around 50 multimedia posts.