(Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

Social media has become a staple of museum communications plans, so we weren’t surprised to learn that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) became the first museum to join the Venice Beach–based social network last month. But why would this august museum decide to join this particular social network? Maybe because it’s the fourth most popular with US teens (behind Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram)? According to one stat, 43% of 12- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat at least once a day.

The LACMA cameo in the Snapchat promotional video (screenshot by the author from YouTube)

The LACMA cameo in the Snapchat promotional video (screenshot via YouTube)

For those who don’t know, Snapchat is a smartphone-only social network that allows users to broadcast photos, video, or hybrid images to friends and fans around the world. While users can take photos or create short, 10-second videos that disappear directly after being viewed, they can also create composite “stories” that remain on the app for up to 24 hours and allow for repeated viewings.

We asked Maritza Yoes, LACMA’s social media manager, about the decision to create content that disappears. This is what she had to say:

Yes, we believe we are the first museum to be on Snapchat. In addition to sending out content on our own Snapchat account, users can also include a LACMA tag when they are at the museum using Snapchat’s new Geofilter feature. We were included in Snapchat’s YouTube video to unveil the new feature. You can check it out here:

YouTube video

LACMA’s interest in Snapchat stems from our enthusiasm for experiential approaches to social media. Not only is Snapchat a great way to reach a younger audience, but it also provides us with a platform for play — a place where we can create stories and experiences around the museum, our collection, and our staff.

Our audience wants to be a part of something. They want to connect to us and to each other, and Snapchat provides us with a direct link to an incredibly interested and excited audience. We both send and receive Snapchats, and in doing so connect with our audience in a way that they can relate to.

If you’re curious what to expect from their channel, check these images they’ve already broadcast (username: lacma_museum):


You may also be interested to know that Hyperallergic is now on Snapchat (username: hyperallergic).

Update, 8/21, 1:30pm ET: Willa Köerner, formerly of SFMOMA, mentioned that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art joined Snapchat last year but has used it infrequently.

Update, 8/21, 7:48pm ET: The Blanton Museum has just announced their own Snapchat account (username: blantonmuseum).

Update, 8/22, 11:55pm ET: MCA Chicago is also on snapchat (username: mcachicago) and the Georgia Museum of Art is too (username: georgiamuseum).

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

11 replies on “LACMA Is the First Museum to Join Snapchat”

  1. And the Jeu de Paume was the first museum on Snapchat in France!
    Add us and get a bit of French touch: jeudepaume

  2. Who What Wear (the fashion site, was the first fashion publisher! They have a great account: WhoWhatWear.

  3. We at Horniman Museum and Gardens think we’re the first museum in the UK to get on board – our youth panel told us that we should, so we listened! Add us: username: hornimanmuseum

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