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Museum of Youth Culture Case Study

Do you still have all your childhood tchotchkes—secret notes from classroom friends, ticket stubs from unforgettable performances, Polaroids, photobooth strips, and home videos? That precious memorabilia documents who you were and who you were becoming—and those personal archives are worth preserving.

In the early 1990s, Jon Swinstead felt so passionately about preserving UK’s shifting youth culture that he launched the first iteration of a first-of-its-kind archival project to preserve it: YOUTH CLUB ARCHIVE. The archive quickly morphed into a popular monthly magazine called Sleazenation that was in circulation for 7 years (1996-2003.)

Ultimately, like the youths themselves, the magazine evolved into the present-day Museum of Youth Culture, but the mission still remains the same: To celebrate the scenes, sights, and sounds of the United Kingdom’s youth culture over the past 100+ years.

When the pandemic hit, the MoYC team was forced to pause the search for a permanent home for the museum, but that never stopped the archive from growing. With PhotoShelter’s FTP capabilities, Workspaces approval system, and sophisticated visibility and access settings, they were (and still are!) able to scale their mission beyond professional photography archival research that museums of photography usually showcase in a multitude of creative ways.

“We started this process. We knew we were already using PhotoShelter and it was working really well for us to archive our images, but we thought, “How could we get images to go straight from someone’s hard drive, someone’s phone, into a gallery immediately without any workflow coming from us, so all we would need to do later on is finesse the keywording and things like that.”

— Jamie Brett, Creative Projects Manager at The Museum of Youth Culture

Read the full client story to learn how the Museum of Youth Culture’s creative strategy and radical, tactical content marketing decisions transformed an anthropological project into a revolutionary, democratized museum experience.

Key Highlights

  • Converted a library of hundreds of thousands of historical photographic slides into a secure, easy-to-access, and manage digital asset management library.
  • Enabled real-time collaboration between the lean MoYC team and over 100+ volunteers across 5 countries during a crucial UGC campaign.
  • Enabled worldwide submissions and the publishing of a one-of-a-kind art book.

The Challenge

  • Provide a secure server to store a digitized archive of hundreds of thousands of photographic slides that document over 100+ years UK youth culture history.
  • Provide a technical solution that allows public uploads to automatically get tagged and stored in their content library.
  • Provide the MoYC team quick and easy access to their rich, deep archive of historical assets, so they can create content to increase brand awareness and audience engagement at scale.

How We Help

The Results

  • Our customizable, scalable, secure DAM platform enables seamless creative collaboration for global organizations.
  • Our fast and easy-to-use platform experience works for organizations that have simultaneous needs for archiving historical assets and constantly uploading new content through an FTP.
  • Cut steps out of the lean core team’s digital asset management and content library workflow by providing smart and customizable platform features like setting up in-platform asset approvals for specific project groups (Workspaces,) advanced visibility and access settings, editing and customizing Public Portal appearance, and FTP upload enablement.

Powerful Tools Increase Process Agility

By setting up an FTP server just before lockdown settled over the UK, the MoYC team swiftly pivoted away from the ‘Growing Up Britain’ campaign’s primary marketing tactic of hosting community events and began collecting user-generated content submissions remotely.

They created a landing page to collect submissions and encouraged folks to upload their adolescent memories and stories to their archive by promoting organic and paid social content.

Jamie Brett, Museum of Youth Culture’s Creative Projects Lead explained their grassroots beginnings:

“We don’t make it out that we’re some sort of high-flying museum. We’ll bring a scanner, or you can bring us in photographs, then we’ll scan them in, and we’ll retouch them to the best standard that we can so you get a copy back. Essentially, you become part of a museum and I don’t know if there’s any other museum that you can become part of in about 10 seconds.”

Jamie Brett, Museum of Youth Culture’s Creative Projects Lead

Outside of the real-time workflow, the remote volunteer network of over 100 people analyzes the images to add referential keywords and captions to them.

Enabling Growth

Over the past three years, this massive hybrid IRL and online marketing campaign effort has generated over 6,000+ submissions.

In true innovative art-rebel fashion, the team has yet again developed new tactics to repurpose the new digital archive into accessible experiences and tangible collector’s items like a nationwide photo album and a custom-designed 2022 wall calendar.

They’re even dreaming big about global expansion! 🌐🔜

Through PhotoShelter’s smart platform solutions, the volunteer network, and the full-time museum team, anyone anywhere can instantly become a part of an evolving museum and that itself is truly revolutionary!

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