I love Halloween and I love archives so it makes sense to me to try and marry the two. At the Royal Northern College of Music, within the collections, there are witches, ghosts, devils and changelings. I really wanted to do something with them.
So, I spent an hour on Thursday taking photos of the all the monsters ready for the big day. On the 31st, I took to @rncmarchives on Twitter. I couldn’t see any plan by any of the big archives to use a particular Halloween hashtag so I made my own: #hauntedarchives.
Note 1: It’s always best to check if there’s a # you can hijack and join before making your own. And of course when you put any noun in front of the word “archives” all you get is people’s photos of them selves last year for Halloween which they have “archived”. Not actual archive collections or items regarding Halloween. Sigh. I think next year, I’ll send a suggestion around the NRA List-serv for a #.
The museum sector was on the ball, as always, with the spooktacular #MusHalloween, which has encouraged hundreds of Tweets so far.
Note: Sure, museums are more visual an in a sense more sexy and popular because of that, and they have a more welcoming persona than archives in our culture, but if museums can do it then so can archives. We’re all in the same sector! Have a look at campaigns like Explore Your Archive and International Archive Day. There’s great momentum there. Let’s keep it going!
Anyway, I sent a mass email around the College to staff and students to let them know that their archives were scheduled to be possessed on Halloween by the ghoulish creepers we keep in the basement. Ignore the irony of a demonic possession being given a diary appointment. From this email I had two people (one staff and one student) wanting to see the collections. WIN!
In between modules in my online courses, I sent the images up into the ether to be enjoyed by one and all on the 31st.
By spacing them out over the day, I was able to really think about what I wanted to do with them. It also made sure that they kept popping up on people’s feeds throughout the day and keeping it fresh.
It also provided a nice break from doing Personal Finance Management module 3 tables, and Logical and Critical Thinking module 3 exercises and trying not to fall in love with the accent of the storyteller on my Hans Christian Anderson module 2 videos. Don’t judge me. She is hypnotising!
There were a few items that I wanted to draw to the attention of specific accounts. Mainly: Grimm and Carmilla Series. Both are supernatural/fantasy series and have pretty impressive followings. I’m a huge fan of both.
In Grimm it’s often the Buffy-style cycle of Monster of the Week format whereas in Carmilla they focus on relationships.
So, I picked out Thomas Pitfield’s Monstrous Monsters and tagged Grimm’s following #Grimmsters.
I chose John Ogdon’s short opera “A Garland for J.S. Le Fanu” and tagged @carmillaseries. Both the series and the opera are dramatisations of “Carmilla”, Le Fanu’s famous work an one of the earliest vampire stories in the Western tradition and possibly the earliest where both the vampire and victim were female.
So far, not much action from either initiatives but hope springs eternal!
In sum, it was a small but fun campaign from an archive with a slowly growing following. Now I know how to improve upon it for next time. Perhaps Christmas?