Following feedback from teenagers at last year’s Teen Twitter Takeover, we wanted to open up this year’s event and allow them to take over other social media platforms.

As part of our Instagram pilot, over 40 young people had the chance to create and share content from nine organisations’ accounts. Here the museums tell us what worked well and what to watch out for.

Thank you to all the heritage sites that took part in our Instagram pilot: Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Leeds City Museum, People’s History Museum, Royal Cornwall Museum, Telegraph Museum Porthcurno, Tullie House Museum, Westminster Abbey and Wrexham Museum.

How did it work?

At most museums, young people used their own phones and logged in to the museum’s Instagram
account. At the end of the day, the young people logged out and removed the account from their
phones. The museums then changed the password of their Instagram account. This meant young
people didn’t have to learn how to use a new device and had more of a sense of ownership over the

At one of the museums, young people were asked instead to use the organisation’s tablets.

Some museums chose to have a brief chat with young people at the start of the day about
professionalism and photo consent. They then began creating and posting content using our
Instagram takeover guidance.

What did you think of the day?

The young people who took part told us:

  •  they relished being given the freedom and responsibility to take over organisations’ main
    Instagram accounts.
  • they enjoyed teaching museum staff and other young people how to use Instagram and being
    the experts for the day.
  • they enjoyed being creative, making artwork to show on Instagram and creating different
    types of content, like memes.
  • finding out more about the museums, looking around exhibitions and dressing up.

The museums that took part told us:

  • it was a brilliant opportunity to have the young people’s undivided attention and have
    meaningful conversations about how to attract more young people.
  • it helped to raise the profile of their work, particularly their youth offer.
  • it gave them a new perspective on their venue and collection.
  • other museum staff were enthusiastic and keen to be involved.
  • the young people really took ownership of the day and had a great time.
  • their Instagram audiences enjoyed and engaged with the content the young people created. Westminster Abbey gained 80 additional followers in 24 hours.

What could be improved?

Although the feedback was largely positive, both museums and young people pointed out some areas
for improvement. If they take part again, they would:

  • provide more training in advance, both for the young people and the museum staff (who
    often didn’t know how to use the app), to ensure they felt confident and prepared on the
  • schedule in more breaks and make sure activities are spread out throughout the day.
  • provide more opportunities for young people to speak to members of museum staff.
  • set a theme for the day or specific questions for young people to respond to.
  • make sure that the technology works in advance. For example, think about which Wi-Fi
    network to connect to and have Instagram pre-installed on whatever devices you are using.
  • remember that some young people can be camera shy and would prefer to be behind the
    camera, creating, editing or uploading content.

Some young people also felt that they would appreciate the opportunity to have even more freedom
with the content.

What worked well?

The organisations involved recommend:

  • having a clear brief and a detailed timetable for the day.
  • working with a small group or splitting young people into groups. Remember that the young
    people can’t all post at the same time.
  • incorporating creative activities into the day and giving young people to chance to show off
    their artwork or creations.
  • planning some posts in advance to give the day some structure.
  • fitting elements of the day in with Arts Award, such as interviewing museum staff.
  • using the Kids in Museums Instagram takeover guidance.

Thank you to all our participating museums for their feedback. We hope it’ll encourage more
museums to get involved as part of Takeover Day or Teen Digital Takeover Day.


“The Instagram Takeover was an exciting way to enable young people the autonomy to create
immediate responses and content inspired by our collections, site and events. It was a new and safe
way for our digital team and the young people to experiment with different avenues of engagement,
which seemed to be well liked by our audience.” Westminster Abbey

“Thought it was useful and a different way for us to promote the museum and the work we do, as
well as show we work with young people which hopefully will change perceptions that we are old
and stuffy!” Wrexham Museum

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