When using digital spaces and social networking sites, we in the heritage world often tend to focus on marketing aspects. Digital is seen as a place for promoting the physical exhibitions and branding the institution in a positive way. But what happens if we have a crisis?

Theft, fraud, and accidents are—unfortunately—also a part of the museum world, and therefore it is necessary to address such difficult issues socially. Crisis management is no longer just about “handling the press.” It is also about conversation with “likers” and followers, search engine optimization (SEO), and the production of background information, which goes beyond the traditional, written press release.

We will examine and share experiences from three different situations in which social and digital crisis management became relevant to the National Museum of Denmark. In 2007, one of our national treasures was stolen. In 2011, it was discovered that a famous amber bear, believed to be prehistoric, was a modern fraud. And in 2013, one of our museums burned down.

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