5 places to find inspiration for a museum, business or historical project

old trainsThe gardening crew has arrived outside my office. I hear a clunk and a bump as their truck and trailer bounces into the lot. I watch for a few minutes, and I’m inspired by the efficiency. They quickly rev up the ride-on mower and begin trimming the edges. It’s like a well-oiled pit stop team — every worker knows his place. Someone hands me the bill and everybody leaves as smoothly as they came in.

In business, it’s important to be creative. Here are five sources of inspiration. See full article: Here

Last Post: Remembering the First World War

Throughout the world researchers, writers, bloggers and family members are becoming familiar with “Field Post” cards. For many years official histories and formal records dictated much of the content of #WW1 history. With the passing of the Great War generation, often the men first and then their partners, more and more First World War post cards are becoming available.

Be this via opening your grandparents musty box of letters or finding a card from the Great War at a market, early postcards are growing in popularity as a low-cost method for collectors, students and writers to get up close and personal with #WW1. Unlike war sites being reclaimed by nature, post cards are had written – a piece of history actually handled by the soldier, the nurse, the veterinarian on the front line.

Often the Field Post cards will have a last portrait or show the ruins of Europe, but you often get the sense of fore boding: you can sense the “she’ll be right mate” attitude of Aussie Diggers as they face an uncertain and often deadly future. Now with the advent of online websites like eBay, cards posted from Field Post Offices are cheap and readily accessible to all.

The unexpected twist is when the enemy post cards appear and you see that not only the fresh face youth of the British Empire which was marched to muddy hell, but also the proud young German men, writing home to their mothers, sisters and girls-friends. Field Post Offices provided an amazing service in so many ways.

While technology brings us close to accessing WWI messages, the world faces losing much of the modern-day message from the battle field: email and social media is quick, easy and instantaneous – yet go back through your emails and you may find they are slowly disappearing. 9-11 for example: the emotion, heart-break and agony of that day would have been once on paper or post card. Look back through your emails and see if you have any from September 11th, 2011.

I know my email service provided does not retain anything that old now. Fortunately, a little old-fashioned I know, I printed out the key emails of the time. I am glad I did, because a great bulk of that electronic ‘field post’ for this century, email, does not have a life span of the documents handled by the Great Field Post Offices of the War to End All Wars.

The British Postal Museum & Archive blog

The First World War was a major turning point in the history of the Post Office. To mark the year of the centenary, our First World War exhibition, Last Post, is now open at Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums group.

The exhibition explores the contribution of millions of people to wartime communication and the far reaching role of thePost Office on both the battlefield and the home front.

Field Post Office Field Post Office

An Oxo tin among other things

Demonstrating the huge variety of items that could be sent through the post in wartime, you can see on display an OXO tin posted home from the fighting front by William Cox, a former Post Office worker. He posted the OXO tin back to his brother and sister, containing a button from the tunic of a fallen soldier and a piece of shrapnel.

Cox's OXO Tin OXO tin sent…

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British war graves to be restored in northern Poland

Prisoners of War: They are soldiers, who must have encountered the enemy in close quarters and gone through an individual, and perhaps group, process of deciding to fight to the death, lay down their arms in defeat, exhaustion, injury, abandonment or at the lost of all hope.

The encounter, the surrender or capture, for a soldier is, I suspect one of the most gut wrenching feelings a person could be faced with. Perhaps there was a feeling of relief – I’m safe at last: I will rest out my days in a camp and just wait until this awful War to end all wars is over. Some camps horrific, some civilized. But to die in captivity is something that is unimaginable.

At times there was kindness in death, but the captors, priests, nuns or a wreath provided by a surrounding occupied town, but largely dying as a prisoner of war in captivity in an unconscionable end to the of a teacher, plumber, a baker, father or a son.

It is important to remember them, and restoration of their final place headstones and monuments is important.

First World War Centenary, 1914-1918

Image

The graves of 39 First World War British soldiers who died at the German army’s Heilsberg prisoner of war camp are to be restored.

The graves, at Lidzbark Warminski in northern Poland, were marked with a Cross of Sacrifice and Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstones in the years immediately following the end of the conflict. But, during the 1960s, the cemetery deteriorated and the men’s names were added to the memorial at Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Restoration

Experts from the CWGC are now restoring the Lidzbark Warminski site, erecting new headstones that have been manufactured in the CWGC’s offices at Arras in France.

A number of families of the men have come forward and will be able to attend a rededication ceremony planned for May, at which the CWGC will also install a new Visitor Information Panel.

Among those commemorated at Lidzbark Warminski is 19-year-old private Frank Bower…

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All Quiet on the Western Front

I too have been reading All Quiet on the Western Front after only glancing through it in the 1980’s school book assignment. Thirty years later, I’m ready to really read it and contemplate what all soldiers and animals (mainly horses) when through 100 years ago. #ANZAC

What Crosses My Mind

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I’ve been reading the book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and it’s one of those books that when you look at the cover you’re like “ehh looks slow” but once you start reading it, it really grabs you and you want to keep reading. It’s about a soldier and his fellow soldiers on the battle field of World War 1 and how things were from their point of view. I had always heard of WW1 and WW2 and I always had an idea that is was a struggle for soldiers who fought, but my idea of their struggles was just death and starvation. Little did I know that they had lice, trench foot, and barely showered. It’s much worse than I thought it to be. Books like these sort of “humble” you in a way. For a while you put your life into perspective and…

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Have you posted your old photos on social media yet? It will be a hit!

Shell Facebook Banner

Nostalgia has definitely made it’s way back into retail marketing, but it is also making an impression in other industries as well, with social media facilitating nostalgic brand and marketing strategies. The free platforms like Facebook and WordPress also put this ability into the hand of local museums, historical societies, galleries and community groups.

As Shell fast approaches five million followers, it’s Facebook banner featured a nostalgic 1960/70’s image. Even as the brand talks innovation, a high-tech and advanced technologies, the old Shell station resonates with thousands of Facebook followers liking and sharing the picture.

Brand nostalgia is not a mutually exclusive to retail marketing strategy, as proven by Coca-Cola time and time again. Social media now provides several unique platforms to marry nostalgia with other seemingly divergent strategies as refreshing (excuse the pun) and social engaging content.

Note the branding is consistent over the years, the Shell logo from back then is still representing the company today, creating continuity.

So if major brands are engaging with their “fans” and getting free advertising from those fans sharing, liking and promoting the brand, why not take steal the strategy and implement it in your not for profit organisation? Most NFPs have plenty of volunteers will to help and those with a more ‘senior’ member demographic may be able to use social media as a way of attracting younger interest into the organisation.

As we speak, social media marketing teams are raiding their corporate museums, archives and googling for “cool” retro images to fit in to their current brand strategies. Social media provides a ready tool for the quick, low cost, distribution of historical images allowing fans and followers to further engage with fond memories and simpler times (pre-social media) when the brand was with them.

Have you looked at your retro photos yet? Post them and people will like and share them…. why else would advertisers being do it! Grow your fan base, attract new interest and membership while bring your NFP into this century and increasing accessibility to your collection.

Add a copyright message, but only put things up on the internet that you are prepared to see copied and re-appearing elsewhere, with or with a credit.

Social media for NFP museums, galleries and historical societies

Social media for Not for Profitsmobiledevices
Social media can be overwhelming at times: content (photographs, images, video and text), online communities, tone of voice, moderation, legal considerations, time management, public verses personal posts, timely responses to customers and more. And then there is the multitude of platforms – Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and blogging sites like WordPress.com to name but a few. Where should you start? Do you even need to start using social media?

We understand social media
Not for Profits are a unique unto themselves and every NFP is unique. Don’t jump into social media without carefully selecting what best suits your needs. Nothing is worse than an organisation that started Facebook or Tweeting but has not done an update in the last year or two. It is part of your organisation’s public face, just like a shop window, it is either neat and tidy, or run-down and tired. Even worse perhaps, there is no shop window for your NFP! We have great experience with social media, let us help you!

Let us guide you through the process
Museums, galleries, historical societies and community groups are called on to do a lot of things. Let Optimize Business help you assess your specific needs for social media. We’ll sit down with you to understand your customers, your opportunities for social and then we will either train you and/or your staff or you can hand it all over to Optimize Business for a complete outsourced solution.

Our approach
We are flexible and will work to meet your individual needs. We will also tell you straight out if we think social media is not right for you. We will also talk to you about social media advertising, it is constantly changing but provides direct access to local customers you choose to communicate with.

  • Needs analysis
  • Strategy development
  • Initial account configuration
  • Content creation
  • Outsource 100% or in-house training
  • Build & engage your community
  • Social advertising
  • Grow your business!

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