The Peabody Essex Is the First U.S. Museum to Offer a TikTok Creator-in-Residence Program to Expand Its Social-Media Outreach

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Are you a student who loves art and TikTok? The Peabody Essex Museum might have the summer job for you. The Salem, Massachusetts, museum has just announced that it is hiring for its new TikTok creator-in-residence program.

“This program offers a singular opportunity for art school students to combine their love of art and culture with a valuable experience in content creation and brand building,” Kurt Steinberg, the museum’s chief operating officer and the former president of Maine’s Montserrat College of Art said in a statement. “We look forward to working with a talented content creator to find surprising and entertaining new ways to highlight the programs, collections, and people that make the Peabody Essex Museum a world-renowned organization.”

Though the need to engage with audiences on social media has become paramount for institutions in recent years, the Peabody Essex is the first U.S. museum to have a TikTok-specific residency program.

The museum has been on the video platform for just over a year, and has posted 28 times, including a cute take on the recent trend to imitate the cinematic style of Wes Anderson. It currently has just 536 followers, so hiring the right influencer could be a major opportunity for growth on the platform.

@peabodyessex We’re feeling not-so-accidentally Wes Anderson! Romanticize your next trip to PEM Anderson-style with symmetry, bright colors and quirkiness to boot. We’re open 10 am–5 pm, Thursday–Monday for all your artsy adventures! #wesanderson #wesandersontrend #wesandersonfilm #wesandersonaesthetic #peabodyessexmusuem #museumtok #museum #fyp #salem ♬ original sound – Jeremy Cascamisi

The museum will give preference to current students or recent graduates of New England art schools. The position is paid, and requires a strong TikTok portfolio demonstrating the applicant’s video editing and production skills, storytelling abilities, and creativity.

The resident will work closely with the museum’s education and marketing teams to develop and produce TikTok videos with the goal of increasing awareness of and heightening engagement with the museum and its art and collections. The person will also help promote events like next month’s “Yoga in the Galleries,” set against the Instagram-friendly backdrop of Anila Agha’s sculpture , known for its dramatic interplay of light and shadow.

“We are excited to see the energy that PEM’s TikTok creator-in-residence will bring to the museum, and we look forward to collaborating with them to bring the museum’s art and collections to new audiences,” Derek O’Brien, the museum’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “Through this new initiative, we hope to inspire and engage with art enthusiasts across the region and around the globe.”

Anila Agha, <em>All the Flowers are for Me</em> at the Peabody Essex Museum. Photo courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.

Anila Agha, at the Peabody Essex Museum. Photo courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.

TikTok has experienced rapid growth since its launch in September 2017, with its success inspiring Instagram to introduce its copycat Reels feature—which has since come to dominate the previously photo-driven platform’s feed—in 2020.

Museums have been slow to adopt TikTok, but institutions such as the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, which opened an account in 2020, have begun to find audiences there. The Uffizi has 160,000 followers now, while the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has 192,600.

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