This is the story of an unexpected case study: a 140-year-old museum focused on fishing and art in a coastal Massachusetts town. It’s not a huge, well-funded museum like the Met in New York or the MFA in Boston. It’s the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Mass.
Founded in 1873 as the Cape Ann Scientific and Literary Association (catchy name, right?), the Cape Ann Museum has lots of works about the history of Gloucester, the nation’s oldest fishing port, as well as an art collection by the surprisingly large number of artists who’ve lived on or been inspired by Cape Ann.
But Cape Ann isn’t a big place, so this 19th-century museum has turned to 21st-century means—Facebook and Twitter—to raise its profile and attract new members from the social-media-savvy younger crowd. Here are five lessons any company can learn from the Cape Ann Museum: