Abstract

Most museums have established strong online presences, due in part to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To stay relevant in the social media sphere, museums must keep up with the speed at which the internet operates. One way of doing this is to follow the current trends and events that are already piquing the interest of those on the internet. However, is it the museum account that follows the current events, or are current events influenced by the museum’s presence? By examining the Tenement Museum’s Twitter account through the agenda-setting and agenda-melding theories, this paper seeks to answer the following research questions: who sets the agenda for discussion on museum social media sites? What subjects or issues are discussed on these sites? This paper is situated at the intersection of museology and communication theory. After collecting and analyzing data from March 2020 to March 2022, it was found that the Museum was significantly more likely to post than users. In addition, the Museum was significantly more likely to generate responses, supporting the agenda-setting theory. In a world where “truth” is an ever-changing subjectivity, museums can fill the gap to set the agenda and bring their institutional perspective to current events. By setting the agenda for their community, a museum can influence the way that community talks about and perceives the world around them. When all is said and done, the employees at the Tenement Museum do more than curate the Museum’s exhibitions, they curate the agenda.

Publication Date

12-16-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)

Advisor

Rudy Pugliese

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Brown

Advisor/Committee Member

Eun Sook Kwon

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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