Catherine Mastrangelo, Marketing and Communications Manager, Montclair Art Museum

For my guest expert interview, I spoke with Catherine Mastrangelo, the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey. An aspect of the interview that I found fascinating was what prompted the creation of MAM’s social media accounts. In 2009, MAM hosted an exhibition called Cezanne and American Modernism. This show brought record numbers to the museum, and MAM rode that momentum to create Facebook and Twitter accounts and establish an audience. I think capitalizing on a successful exhibition or event is a great way to get a solid foundation for a museum’s social media, and a practical strategy to know for the future.

We discussed SnapChat at length during our interview, since the Montclair Art Museum launched their SnapChat account fairly recently. Specifically something I found interesting was that Mastrangelo expressed the Montclair Art Museum was working on “finding their SnapChat voice”. This includes discovering what aspects of the museum are most SnapChat-friendly and will result in the most excitement from the audience. The first Thursday of every month MAM has a free museum day, which includes a bar and large amount of activity. Mastrangelo expressed that this, combined with behind-the-scenes snaps every Friday (i.e. showing the pending installation of an exhibit), have resulted in the most success.

The aforementioned “behind-the-scenes” snaps are very interesting to me because they reflect a collaborative technique of social media marketing. In my interview Mastrangelo explains that these behind-the-scenes access is possible because the curatorial staff allows her to document exhibition processes. She also receives a big help from the Yard School, because they provide photos of classes taught at MAM. She also discusses how she collaborates with the development department to brainstorm ideas for content. Mastrangelo took advantage of the museum’s experts and specialists to find “killer content” to advertise numerous different programs the museum has to offer that will most excite audiences (Dilenschneider, 2012).

One aspect of my job is to post on my company’s Facebook and Twitter, and I can especially see how helpful it would be to have a department provide photos. In my experience reviewing social media analytics of my own content, posts and tweets reach a wider audience when they have photos or a visual aspect to go along with them. After a while it becomes difficult to find a variety of good quality, unique, and interesting photos. Even when there’s a backlog of photos, it becomes quickly apparent when photos are dated. Things as simple as people’s fashion can give old photos away, or outdated technology being present in them. Having constant, new photos would be such a huge help.

The future for social media at the Montclair Art Museum is very exciting. The spiritual successor to the Cezanne and American Modernism is going to open in February of 2017, Matisse and American Art (Montclair Art Museum, n.d.). I am excited to see the kinds of content Mastrangelo posts for this exhibition, especially in contrast to what was posted for the exhibition that started it all!


Dilenschneider, C. (2012). Social Media: The Every­Department Job in Nonprofit Organizations. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from­media­the­every­department­job­in­nonprofit­organizations

Matisse and American Art | Montclair Art Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2016, from



  1. Kristen Peterson says:

    Jeana: I completely agree, posts with attractive images (everything from cats playing the piano to scenery) are engaging. Sometimes the most throughs-out photo isn’t as attractive on SM as something we post on a whim. As Catherine suggests, help gathering images is welcomed!

  2. Nicole Beddia says:


    It was interesting to hear more about the challenges of image rights in social media. It would be wonderful if this type of information was shared in loan agreements like you had mentioned. It seems like a big task to reach out to the artist or whomever in order to gain the high resolution images for advertising and promotions. It makes me wonder if there will eventually be an image database that museums can reference.

  3. Megan Burgess says:

    Jeana, I had never heard of “Do it” so I looked it up and watched the short on the exhibition’s website. It is unbelievably well-suited for social media! Whether it’s telling followers to retweet, like Catherine said, or giving a command and asking people to upload it to Twitter or Instagram, it falls right in with the exhibition’s purpose.

  4. John Lodge says:

    I was interested in her mentioning trying to find a “voice” on Snapchat. It’s something I have wondered about recently, finding an institution’s “voice on social media and if you are the sole person responsible for managing it, how does that differ from your own voice? Or does it? Do you use your own personality to define that voice or is it necessary for the institution to have its own separate voice?

  5. Jasmin Mitchell says:

    I thought Catherine’s interview was great. Through her interview I am realizing just how important it is to find a social media voice with in an institution. This is so important because it can really help build visitor attendance both online and in the museums.

  6. Caroline Rohe says:

    For events instead of using Snapchat, if Catherine wanted to record more than a few seconds she should start using Periscope. Periscope allows you to record events live and followers can watch recordings well after the fact. Snapchat is great for goofy social media, but to attract visitors to possibly come out to future events Periscope gives a great almost in person experience.

  7. Donny Caltrider says:

    I love that Catherine has embraced the potential of Snapchat- it still seems to be in the early adopter stage as far as social media channels are concerned but does hold, as we have seen, a lot of engagement potential. From “cheeky” pop culture to behind the scenes and event coverage, it sounds if she has found some success in finding the MAM “voice” within this new platform! I wonder if she plans to expand Snapchat use as it becomes more popular or to keep it at the current use level in order to balance with the other platforms?

  8. Lauren Szady says:

    I love the way that Catherine involves everyone on staff to get the most up-to-date photos for their social media posting. I think this could work for a lot of different organizations settings as well as for different social media outlets. It certainly would get the hype going across staff to see their photos up on the museum channels!

  9. Rachel Rabinowitz says:

    It seems to me that Catherine really understands how social media has grown over the years and what it means to be a social media manager. Catherine commented that in the beginning the focus was to gain followers, but today it is more important to understand the impact and reach of your posts. Figuring out how to not only gain followers, but to keep them is key to a successful social media campaign.

  10. Sabrina Sanders says:

    I find it so interesting that Snapchat is a platform that most people use in a lighthearted, or as Catherine says a “cheeky” way- is it because of the younger audience? Or the inherent nature of Snapchat? Catherine talks about having relationships with other departments at her museum to get content and images etc., which is something I have heard in a number of the other interviews. Constantly coming up with content would be a difficult part of the job and reaching out to the other departments can be a real help as well as bringing together a holistic approach to the museum’s presence on social media.

  11. Katie Montecuollo says:

    Jeana, it definitely helps to collaborate with other departments to get content, especially if only one person is running the social media program. I love the idea of the “behind the scenes” look as it adds a personal touch to the museum, helping to engage visitors with people who work in the museum along with the different events that are taking place at the museum.

  12. Melanie Claros Rodriguez says:

    Catherine’s interview was really interesting in that she talked about how all departments were helpful to her. She really showed how her social media endeavors were possible because all the departments allowed her access into their areas so that she would have good content to write about. I think that anyone that works with social media has to be a team player and she really drove that point home with her comment son how she couldn’t do it on her own, she needed the departments to clue her in on what what happening.
    Being a Programs and Education manager myself, I really enjoyed hearing Catherine talk about how the education department has learned how to let her know about the events they have going on to help her spotlight them on social media. I know in terms of school tours, it’s hard to really do pictures on social media but at least alluding to it on social media can help school teachers know that this organization is a resource that they can use in their classrooms.

  13. Jason Rusk says:

    Jeana: Not having a particular social media strategy is interesting. However, her mention of tracking engagement goes right in ling with what we have been discussing basically all semester. It sounds as if her institution has a smaller following on social media at this point but she remains very on top of what feedback comes from the community, what keeps them excited and engaged.

  14. Craig Hadley says:

    This really illustrated how important having current content is, such as the photographs. It can be tough getting current images for social media unless one takes them yourself, but if one is trying to get images of collections and such, you often have to rely on the good graces of the curatorial department. This highlights the needs of inter-departmental cooperation, but it often seems like other departments do not appreciate the power of social media so those requests can often find themselves at the bottom of the request pile. Once again, this interview also shows how hard it can be when you are the only one handling it. Good interview.

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