The innovative residency making the Musée d’Orsay an Instagram hit

Article: David Styles | Image: © museeorsay/Instagram

A year-long social media project being run by the Musée d’Orsay is seeking to explore how artists of the past may have utilised Instagram – and has already proved a great success.

Artist-in-residence schemes can be found at museums and galleries across the world, but offering a residency devoted to reimagining both a museum’s traditional content and its social media output is a path far less trodden.

Every Monday the social media feed of the Musée d’Orsay is hauling in a lot of traction, comments and thousands of likes. The reason? Jean-Philippe Delhomme.

Currently in residence at the d’Orsay, Delhomme is the author of Artists’ Instagrams: The Never Seen Instagrams of the Greatest Artists, a book exploring how some of the art world’s masters may have used their talents in an online world. He is now applying this concept to the museum’s Instagram, which is garnering a great deal of admiration.

The opportunity represents the shift in attitudes towards social media in the sector. Having been regarded by some as a necessary evil, many cultural institutions are now getting increasingly playful with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Little wonder, given the runaway success of the Museum of English Rural Life’s infamous ‘look at this absolute unit’ Tweet in 2018.

That now iconic Tweet even outmuscled strong traditional marketing campaigns to scoop the Marketing Campaign of the Year award at the 2019 Museums + Heritage Awards. Cultural institutions undoubtedly have huge potential to leverage social media as a tool for maximising engagement and attracting new, younger audiences.

The MERL's famous Tweet back in the days before it hit 100,000 likes

Residencies which give social media accounts different identities for a limited period of time, akin to a temporary exhibition, could well be the future of the sector’s online presence.

You can follow Delhomme’s creations at museeorsay on Instagram