Pinterest for Museums

May 2, 2018 · 5 min read

What’s it all about?

So if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll realise that I love using Pinterest!

If you don’t know much about Pinterest, I often describe it as a digital scrapbook. It’s great for collecting, learning and sharing new ideas on just about any subject matter. If you see an image you like on someone's page, you simply pin it which means selecting the image and saving it to your own page. Hence the name Pinterest, you are pinning an image which is of interest to you.

You can use Pinterest on a desktop computer, however, I personally find that it works better as an app, and functions smoother on a smart device such as a mobile phone or a tablet — this also allows you to pin on the go! If you do have a smartphone or tablet you may be familiar with the share option- most websites will allow you to share an image or even an article by pinning it back to your Pinterest page.

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You can categorise your page by creating themed boards. For example, I know individuals that have used Pinterest as inspiration for their wedding so they may have a wedding themed board. Some like to use it for finding new recipes, and so they might create a board for food. Food is still a very broad topic, so you might choose to break that down even further and have a savoury themed board or a sweet board etc.

To no surprise, the most popular board on my personal Pinterest page is shoes!

Large institutions such as The Rijksmuseum have taken inspiration from Pinterest, through creating the Rijkstudio (, which was based on this social media platform. You can find out more about this on my blog:

Reviving Pinterest at Reading Museum

When the opportunity came for me to develop Reading Museum’s Pinterest Page, I was very excited! The page already existed, however it didn’t have much of a presence.

As popular as Pinterest is, it is still way behind in comparison to bigger platforms such as Facebook and Twitter which the museum tends to focus on the most.

I worked with the Learning Team on this project and there were a number of ideas of what the purpose of Pinterest would be for:

- It could be used as a learning resource (possibly for teachers)

- An extension of the museum’s digital offer

- A way to publicise the online collection to a more diverse audience

I started work by officially branding the page with the Museum’s new logo and a short bio. I then worked on developing the two boards that were currently on there: Reading Abbey Restoration & Victorian Schoolroom.

These topics were very current with the re-opening of the Reading Abbey Ruins due to take place in the summer and the Victorian Schoolroom moving to the Gateway. However, Pinterest isn’t used for breaking news or sharing updates like other visually based platforms such as Instagram, it’s more of a visual library, so it was going to be suitable for showcasing the wonderful imagery from the online catalogue. The key however to ensuring your existence on any social media platform stays alive is to remain active, therefore I had a lot more pinning to do!

Just keep pinning…

So within a few weeks, the Pinterest page gradually began to grow with the addition of new boards. I felt that it was time to expand further from the topic of Reading Abbey and delve into the collections. I began with a Huntley & Palmers themed board displaying the wonderful selection of biscuit tins.

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Through expanding on the topic areas, I was beginning to see some movement. Whilst we didn’t have a lot of followers, people were viewing the page.

I thought about how we could reach those diverse audiences we talked about and I decided to go back to the online catalogue ( for inspiration. I looked at the World Collection which has so many fascinating artefacts but was so vast. I then thought about the best way I could get a good selection onto Pinterest and decided to categorise them by continents. I began with an Objects of Africa board ( then an Objects of Asia board ( and so on. Though getting followers appeared to be a challenge, Reading Museum’s page was certainly getting a lot more viewers! I was impressed by the results of just a few hours work each week.

By changing from a normal account to a business account, Pinterest can provide you with a detailed report on analytics.

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Overview of analytics from Reading Museum’s Pinterest Page

It was fascinating to see which pins were the most popular and the locations people were viewing from. The statistics showed that the top 5 countries the Pinterest page reached were:

- United States

- United Kingdom

- India

- Turkey

- Republic of Korea

With a greater percentage of female viewers outnumbering the male audience.

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The most popular board to date has been Objects of Asia.

This object ( received the highest number of impressions overall.

It was clear to see from the statistics that the page was reaching a more diverse audience. The interests of this audience varied from home decor to healthy snacks and makeup to travel overtaking history as the expected subject.

Reading Museum’s Pinterest page is just one alternative to viewing their amazing collections, you will find so much more on their online catalogue. However if you are a Pinterest fan, or even if you’re not I would encourage you to have a look at the page (of course!). If something takes your fancy, why not pin it or even share it, you never know what interesting things you may find and new knowledge you will acquire.


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