Instagram posts from The Museum of Modern Art.

Liz Stinson, 18 NYC Museums Swap Instagram Subjects for the Day, Wired, 2 February 2016

Today 18 of New York City’s biggest museums are repping one another’s collections on their Instagram accounts. For 24 hours, each institution will be posting images taken at a partner museum, to draw parallels between the two institutions’ themes and exhibitions. For instance, the Museum of Modern Art will post photos of collections housed in the American Museum of Natural History (and vice versa); the Frick Collection will be showcased by the folks at the New-York Historical Society; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Queens Museum will trade off, too. The idea came from a similar project that happened last August in London when ten museums traded accounts as a way to digitally swap collections and find common themes in the work. In New York City’s version, some of the partnerships are more natural fits than others.

The seemingly random pairings are the result of the selection process in which each museum created a ranked list that was then fed to an algorithm that did the final choosing. The Museum of Art and Design and the Whitney Museum of American Art, for example, have plenty of common ground to draw from. Others like the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art and the Neue Galerie New York (a museum for German and Austrian art) are connected in their cultural mission, if not in their geographies. Gretchen Scott, MoMA’s digital marketing manager, says she and her counterpart from the Museum of Natural History wandered the halls of each other’s institution trying to figure out where the two connected. “I knew I wanted to focus on the artists who painted the landscape backgrounds for AMNH’s famous dioramas,” she says. “The small group of artists who created them were really masterful, and many of them worked at the museum for decades. I thought this was a natural opportunity to recognize their work.” Best case scenario: seeing the MoMA through the eyes of the American Museum of Natural History, or the Guggenheim through the Liberty Science Center, will change the way you view what’s inside those buildings. If nothing else, it’s a clever marketing move for museums looking to attract new visitors. All of the museums will be posting throughout the day, and naturally there’s a hashtag. Follow along at #museuminstaswap.

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