What is at stake?
The url www.magyarmúzeumok.hu belongs to the Pulszky Society and using the name Magyar Múzeumok Online (MMO) the project, whose website you are reading right now, has primarily been financed by the National Cultural Fund (NKA) since 2009.
The url www.magyarmúzeumok.hu belongs to the Pulszky Society and using the name Magyar Múzeumok Online (MMO) the project, whose website you are reading right now, has primarily been financed by the National Cultural Fund (NKA) since 2009. Unquestionably it has had a considerable impact on what is being talked about in the museum filed in Hungary.
Magyar Múzeumok Online (MMO) is widely read beyond the national borders in the neighbouring countries. The MMO Facebook account reached more that 17.000 people between the 11 and 18 November 2015 and in October this year 27.000 downloads were initiated. Regarding the fact that museums are hardly part of the mainstream popular culture, and we break news and give analysis in one of the most inaccessible languages in the world, this seems to be quite an impressive result. In this country our field comprises approximately 6000 people (museum professionals, curators, conservators, and museum staff serving visitors), which clearly shows that the site generates interest way beyond the museum profession.
In 2009 the Pulszky Society decided to turn its printed journal into an online site because it was looking for a platform which is easily available, can provide up-to-date information, meet the expectations of younger generations and is financially viable. The aim was to create a space for breaking news and discussing and sharing views on exhibitions and museum practices in a way which is available for anyone and everyone interested in the world of museums. As interest and readership have been continuously growing since the launch of the site, it seems self-evident that there is a demand for a site with diverse topics and information which comes as fast as news sites publish theirs.
The MMO website offers web 2.0 services, visitor friendly applications, interactive functions, and indeed sometimes breaks relevant news faster than the large market leading news sites. In the first two years we succeeded to create a professional forum with a stable circle of authors, who brought the news to the readers and supplied reviews, interviews, analyses and blog posts. Besides all these, the overall aim was to make all the knowledge accumulated in museums available for anyone interested.
The Results in Numbers
According to Google Analytics in 2010 41.662 page views were detected on the site, which means 17.272 visits by 10.775 visitors. In 2011 we witnessed a substantial increase: 121.248 views 42.135 visits by 26.347 visitors. In the following year, we almost doubled these figures reaching 219.336, 85.299 and 51.713 respectively. And the trend does not seem to lose momentum. Until the middle of November 2015, 222.143 views were made during 111.662 visits by 73.111 visitors.
Our Facebook site is followed by more that 3100 people (this figure was 2200 in 2014) and our followers are actively sharing and commenting on our posts. Quite remarkably, this is exclusively fuelled by the interest we ourselves generate by the topics and articles we publish: the site has never had a paid campaign on any platform so far.
The secret is that MMO is present on all major start pages and in website directories, it is continuously updating its Facebook account and takes all the opportunities to appear on other relevant sites as well as at offline events. The editors are advertising the site as a source of content as well as a space for publication with the help of direct marketing and personal connections. Due to this, the number of readers as well as that of the contributors is rising.
The fact that 59.8 % of our readers click on our site for the first time shows the potentials of growth in readership and the fact that 40 % of those landing on our site are return readers indicates that the site can indeed retain a significant part of its readership. It is also worth noting here that a significant part of them do not only read one item, but move on and brows the site.
The English version of the site has enabled us to reach readers in distant countries and continents. Most of the foreign visitors are from Romania, the United States, Germany, Australia, the UK, France, Slovakia, Serbia, Italy and Russia, nevertheless another dozen countries appear on the visitors’ list.
The ways our readers reach us are also important: most of our hits are generated by a Google search, 25 per cent arrive via a social website and 16 per cent come directly to MMO, that is they purposefully aim to check out the site.
Besides offering the latest news in text and in pictures, MMO has direct links to the most important museum blogs, digital archives and virtual exhibitions. The Magyar Digitális Múzeumi Könyvtár (Hungarian Digital Museum Library) as well as museum.hu is only a click away. We are keen to start joint projects with different institutions: this year we had a special collaboration with the Múzeumok Őszi Fesztiválja (MÖF - Museums’ Autumn Festival) and with the Semmelweis Museum of Medical History. The MÖF banners appeared on several pages of our site and our articles were published on the MÖF site. During the festival, we broke news of the museums’ events three times a day.
The structure of MMO allows museums to publicise their programs, news, initiatives and developments via several channels. We offer news, book- and exhibition reviews, as well as separate photo and video galleries. The Blog section is a great place for more subjective views of museum professionals, museology- and social sciences students or even of keen museum goers. Offsetting this more personal section, our interviews are always with people who represent an institution and reveal the institutional point of view of a story.
MMO believes that boosting the public discourse on museums is an important aim and primary interest of all parties and stakeholders in the museum field. The lack of this discourse has been one of the biggest issues of the Hungarian museum scene, and we believe that the format MMO has taken by now enables, encourages and contributes to this discourse. The overwhelming majority of museums are public collections with the primary message of offering knowledge that is everyone’s, that is possessed by the community. MMO has been working on sharing and distributing this knowledge for more than five years. Please, take a closer look, come and learn about our work, and support us if you can.