I'm an italian archaeologist and blogger. No, I'm an italian blogger and archaeologist. Ok, I'm an archaeoblogger and Museumblogger for National Archaeological Museum of Venice and for Archaeological Superintendency of Tuscany. I work at National Archaeological Museum of Florence as Museum Assistant. This is my personal archaeoblog: http://generazionediarcheologi.myblog.it/

What about archaeology on Snapchat?

Snapchat_logoI love communicating archaeology. I do it for years, by first by blog, then by social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too. As archaeoblogger, I blog about museums and archaeology. I love to do that, and I study everyday something new for a better communication.

Some months ago the snapchat-mania arrived in Italy: every blogger in the blogosphera want to snap. Snapchat is the new language of communication: quick, dynamic, extemporary. Snapchat is the social network of younger generations.

Snapchat intrigued me. Astrid (archeopop) and Antonia (Professione Archeologo), two of the most appreciated archaeoblogger in Italy, have inspired me to try. So, my profile is born, and I made my first snap.

But what is Snapchat?

Snapchat is an app that allows users to create snaps, which can be photos or shorts videos. You can send your snap to your friends, or you can add it to a “story”, which is a collection of photos or snap-videos that your friends can see for 24 hours. After this time your “story” expires. New day, new story. You can find on pinterest a lot of infographics about this app.

Immediacy, spontaneity, in real time; Snapchat is a chat, actually: Snapchat is an instant chat, because when you chat with your friend, your message, photo or video, expires immediately.

my snap from National Archaeological Museum of Florence

my snap from National Archaeological Museum of Florence

A lot of bloggers, travelbloggers above all, use Snapchat. They snap their daylife, their holiday, their travel experiences. There is the right mix of seriousness and frivolity in their snaps. But Snapchat now is invaded by brands: Football clubs, fashion brands, tv channels… Everyone uses Snapchat to reach the younger people and to create engagement. Museums too, are on Snapchat. Few museums, to be honest.

So, how can I use Snapchat to communicate archeology? I’m studying now. I’m studying best way to talk about archaeology on snapchat. When I’m in a museum, or in an archaeological site, or near an ancient monument, I snap some shorts videos to create my “story”. Then I add some photos, with an explaination, so if you don’t want to see all my videos, you can see just photos and you know what I talk about. I think that Snapchat could be a great way to bring archaeology in our daily life.

In Italy there is some archeoblogger that use snapchat to communicate archaeology and cultural heritage: I am maraina81 on Snapchat; Antonia Falcone is antoniafalcone, Astrid D’Eredità is astridrome Giovina Caldarola is giovinacal, Mattia Mancini is djedmedu. You find us on Snapchat, we talk about archaeology.

My first archaeoblogtour

Yes, I am an archaeologist; and yes, I am a blogger. I’m not only an archaeoblogger, I’m a travelblogger too. My travelblog is a very little blog, actually, so nobody calls me when someone coordinates a blogtour somewhere in Italy. Do you know what a blogtour is? An Office Tourisme, an hotel, a restaurant, a farm, a small territory wants to promote itself, its products or activities via the web and invites a little group of bloggers for a few days: bloggers experiences a lot and afterwards they describe it in their blog; in this way bloggers are the voice through which places and products are heard.

So, I hadn’t participated in a blogtour before, but then I participated (actually, I coordinated) in the first archaeoblogtour in Italy. In April 30th 2015, a few months ago, in Florence, Palazzo Strozzi and the National Archaeological Museum invited a little group of italian archaeobloggers to visit two exhibits, “Power and Pathos” in Palazzo Strozzi, and “Great Small Bronzes” at the National Archaeological Museum. Among us there was some of the authors of “Archeostorie”.

archaeoblogger during the visit: livetwitting in progress!

archaeoblogger during the visit: livetweeting in progress!

The two exhibits show the Ellenistic Bronze Sculpture: in Palazzo Strozzi there are great bronzes, great original masterpieces from Greek and Roman art, like Apoxiomenos, Arringatore, etc; in the National Archaeological Museum of Florence 170 small bronze statues show the great variety of iconographies, discussed the relationship between originals and copies, talked about collecting, because all the small statues were part of a great collection of Antiquities of the Medicis Family in the Renaissance. The two exhibits are complementary and two cultural institutions, Soprintendenza Archeologia Toscana and Fondazione Strozzi, worked in partnership.

If I close my eyes I can see the Archaeoblog Day in this moment.

Nine archaeoblogger visited first “Power and Pathos”. We talk about museums, accessibility, children and more with Benedetta and Giulia from Palazzo Strozzi, during lunch; then, here we go! A stone basis without her statue, from greek polis of Corinth opens the exhibit: there is the Praxiteles signature engraved on, but no traces about the bronze statue. During the visit, our guide shows us little details, told some stories about statues, like the Male bronze Statue from Brindisi’s Sea, which was found just a few years ago, or the Apollon’s Head from Salerno: when this statue was found Giuseppe Ungaretti, an Italian poet, wrote a poem about it.

Archaeoblogger on stage. In Palazzo Strozzi, with the Director of Fondazione Strozzi

Archaeoblogger on stage. In Palazzo Strozzi, with the Director of Fondazione Strozzi. He knows the importance of communicating archaeology and museums to the public

After the first visit, we went to the National archaeological Museum, where our extraordinary guide Mario Iozzo, Curator of “Great Small Bronzes” shows us all the small statues. M. Iozzo loves to tell stories about gods, goddesses and heroes of Ancient Greece, and he told us some anecdotes about the statues on display: it’s a pleasure to hear him. His enthusiasm is contagious.

During the visits, we told and shared our experience on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #bronziFirenze. At the end of this great day I collected all tweets in a Storify, then I publish two post, on the Archeotoscana blog, the museumblog about Soprintendenza Archeologia Toscana, and on my personal archeoblog Generazione di Archeologi. Other blogger posted their experience on their personal archaeoblog (you can find here their posts). I made a storify about this brilliant experience.

I think the archaeoblogtour is a way to share museums and archaeological facts, and to communicate to the public. As the blogtour for tourism, the blogtour for archaeology may be the way to connect people with museums and archaeological sites of Italy: communicating archaeology in Italy needs new ways, new tools and new languages and the archaeoblogger could be the way: an archaeologist who can talk to the people.

Marina Lo Blundo


How to spend a day at your museum, when you are an archaeologist but you work as a guardian

Once upon a time, there was a young girl and archaeology student. She visited the National Archaeological Museum of Florence and, when she saw the terrible and magnificent bronze statue of the Chimera, she said “One day I will work here!”. Maybe Someone listened her and a few years later, when she graduated, the Italian Ministry of Culture announced a competition for more of 300 Museum Assistants to archaeological Superintendencies. For the Archaeological Superintendency of Tuscany only 10 people won, and among these, there was me.

The Etruscan bronze staue of Chimera

The Etruscan bronze statue of Chimera

Yes, it’s me the young girl who expressed the desire in front of Chimera! In may 2010 I and nine other young archaeologists like me started to work at National Archaeological Museum of Florence.

Yeah, that’s right: our work consists in checking the halls of the archaeological museum. We are guardians (the correct name is Museum’s Assistant…) so we check our masterpieces, like bronze statues of Chimera, Arretian Minerva and Arringatore, or the François Vase, or coffins and mummies in the Egyptian Museum.

The daily life of the Museum’s Assistant is boring. We spend 6 hours each day in our hall and we intimate to the people “No flash” and “Restrooms are on the Second Floor”… It’s not an exciting work at all… Rarely, visitors ask for some information about the museum’s collection or about some archaeological artifact; above all, the Archaeological Garden of the Museum fascinates the public, and a lot of people ask for information about it.

The Museum's garden

The Museum’s garden

When we don’t stay in museum’s halls, we work at the “supervision room”, a space where we supervise all the museum for security: the museum is checked by cameras and in this room we watch the cameras. It’s a surveillance system that helps Museum’s Assistants in their work. Furthermore, we work three or four nights a month, to ensure the surveillance at night.

The work of Museum’s Assistant is boring. It’s boring if you know that you could use your working time in a different way. It’s boring because we are archaeologists and our competence is wasted. We could really help the museum in its mission to engage the public, to educate young public, to communicate archaeology, to increase culture. Instead, our competence is not appreciated and we stay in our hall to sentence “No flash” and “Restrooms are on second Floor” (but also “Second floor today is closed, I’m sorry” or “The garden is closed, I’m sorry”…).

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m glad to work in the museum. But I can’t use my competence as an archaeologist because my work is to check the artifacts and no more! My job profile instead consists of a lot of others roles: communication, treatment, collaboration in educational activities with schools… From 2010 to 2012 I didn’t carry out any of these others features of my job profile. Finally, from spring 2013 something changed.

Our Superintendent asked to the Museum’s Assistants collaboration in increasing accessibility for the Museum. I am able to write a blog, I’m archaeoblogger and museumblogger too, so I suggested to open a blog dedicated to all the Florence Museum’s activities. The Superintendent liked the idea, but he wanted a blog dedicated to all the Archeological Superintendence of Tuscany! From May 2013 the Archeotoscana blog is active, together with a facebook fanpage and a twitter account. I and another colleague, a young archaeologist like me, we work everyday on the blog and social media communication. When? Yep! When we work in the “supervision room” or when we work by night! We have not an office, obviously, it’s impossible to think that! But when we are in museum’s hall, if you see us with smartphone in our hands, you know that we’re not playing, but we’re twitting… (and of course, I dedicate a lot of time when I’m at home, as a real social media manager… my husband is not happy, but… 😉 )

Chimera is the symbol of Archeotoscana Blog and Social Media

Chimera is the symbol of Archeotoscana Blog and Social Media

In my opinion, our blogging is great work because there are very few museumblogs in Italy, and very few archaeological museum’s blogs. So, I think our work is important to increase communication with the public and to increase public too. I believe strongly in this, so I want to keep up the good work!

Furthermore, during last winter Museum’s Assistants took part in educational activities. So, we collaborated with Educational Services and we organized some events like the “Families at Museum’s Day” or the “Digital Invasions” that had a lot of success. These are good opportunities for the Museum to open its doors to more and more people in a different way… I’m glad to be part of this activities and for the future we will plan others cultural exhibitions… stay tuned!

The Families at Museum's Day at National Archaeological Museum of Florence

The Families at Museum’s Day at National Archaeological Museum of Florence

Yes, I know, my main role is staying in museum’s hall to say “No flash” and “Restrooms are on Second Floor”. But I hope that the current situation will change. And for me, now, the Museum’s Assistant is not a so boring work…