Museum Innovates


Attendance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art reached a record high of 5.68 million people in its fiscal year 2011; it rose again, significantly, to 6.28 million in 2012. It fell, slightly, in 2013, to 6.2 million. Attendance numbers for fiscal year 2014 should be available in two weeks or so.

But, while attendance may be flat (or not! we’ll see), have you checked out how many followers the Met has on Instagram?

After the pictures were posted, the museum saw its account gain thousands of followers. Then Instagram itself listed @metmuseum for two weeks as one of its featured accounts for new users to follow. Traffic jumped by 20,000 followers. Mr. Newby said that wouldn’t have happened without Mr. Krugman.

Now #emptymet tours occur almost monthly. Mr. Krugman has led about a half-dozen of them, with the balance being run by other Instagram users from across the world who lobbied the museum for special access. The Metropolitan Museum’s main account, less than 18 months old, now has over 170,000 followers.

It may or may not be a question for the Met if these followers, particularly ones who’ve not visited the museum, will become visitors or mere voyeurs; in the age of #crushingit even the most elite of cultural institutions apparently needs a #brand.

Photo by Richie Nakano