By Lorna Dawe, IUPUI Museum Studies MA student
Have you ever sat in a classroom during school in grades k-12th and the teacher begins to do roll call — calling the names of each student one by one, usually in alphabetical order? You know your last name and exactly how much time you have to chat with your friends before she/he reaches your name. Some students raise their hands and answer with a resounding, “Here!” Others may raise their hands and answer “Present!!” Both answers are acceptable by the teacher, but there was something special, in my opinion, about the word “present.” Maybe it was the way the student would say it. In fact, the Miriam Webster dictionary gives the following definition of present as an adjective: 1. now existing or in progress 2. being in view or at hand 3. existing in something mentioned or under consideration 4. constituting the one actually involved, at hand, or being considered.
Last semester I worked in the capacity of Marketing and Communications intern at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. A former staff member who had held the same position full-time described the goal to me this way: “You want to reach as many people possible and get the word out about what we are doing.” This is an important task for any business, but I really began to realize how important a task this was particularly during a global pandemic,
Museums, along with restaurants and bars, theaters, schools, and sporting events, were all shut down in fall of 2020. Later, when the city of Indianapolis was allowed to open, people who were a little weary of being cooped up in the house were wondering who was open.
As part of my job I had the task of saying, “Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is present!” With the use of all of the media resources that were available, and approved by KVML such as the use of letters, website updates, posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Instagram, posters, banners and virtual programming on media outlets such as Zoom, we accomplished this goal. People are now actually participating in planned events and programs.
I had used many of these social media platforms in the past, but continued to learn more about them and their value because these media platforms themselves have also evolved. For example, Eventbrite and Square, send out tweets and reminders on behalf of the organization regarding their event. We were also able to fundraise and post events on Facebook. These functions make them even more valuable as a platform, especially for a small organization. During this time in which the country is finding its way out of a global pandemic, I think a valuable lesson for me here was to remain positive, continue doing what I can, and work together when possible with other people, organizations and businesses.