Adventures in Digital Engagement

The National Model Aviation Museum has made its debut in the digital landscape with a humble live broadcast. At almost 3,000 views, #AskClaire was easily the most successful and ambitious attempt at digital engagement the Museum has ever made. Taking inspiration from other museums, the staff took just four things into the gallery: a selfie stick, two phones, and a plan. Lead a live tour and answer questions in real time, as though viewers were physically in the museum space. Staff invited friends and family members to the broadcast, expecting it to be a brief test run of the #AskClaire concept.

Claire has a big smile on her face and is making two thumbs up signs.  Text advertises #AskClaire on 9/9/16.Except, it didn’t quite go that way. Suddenly, Facebook fans of the Museum and AMA began to log on, posing questions about specific objects, modelers, and model aeronautics history. #AskClaire became an hour-long event with an exciting behind the scenes look at object storage and a cohesive trip throughout all the exhibits peppered with fun facts not included in the typical museum visit.

In the end, the #AskClaire live event came away with 2,680 views, 40 questions asked and answered, 145 comments, 48 peak viewers, and a max post reach of 8,587.  Viewers were not only from the United States – ten states were represented during the broadcast – there were international viewers as well, hailing from UK and even Lebanon. People continued to logon and watch well into the weekend, and continued to ask questions and express interest in the event.

A screenshot of one an A-frame pusher covered with Goldbeaters skin was shown during the live broadcast.  Many people asked questions during the event.
A screenshot of one an A-frame pusher covered with Goldbeaters skin was shown during the live broadcast. Many people asked questions during the event.

The museum intends to have a more active digital presence, and to provide the public with a stronger sense of who we are and what we have to offer. The #AskClaire event was just one way we are extending our reach both onsite and online. The Museum also recently participated with thousands of other institutions in answering open-ended questions such as, “what’s your favorite artifact?” for #AskACurator Day on September 14th. This gained the Museum a 19,235% increase in Impressions on their relatively new Twitter account.

We also have another video-based project in the works: Fly By. Fly By is a collaboration between Dillon, museum media specialist, and Claire, museum education specialist. We are producing semi-scripted documentary short films that highlight specific objects, different model aviation topics, modelers and designers, the history of the hobby and more. The Fly By is intended to have a singular focus each episode and provide targeted content that will be accessible by both the casual modeler and the expert alike. We hope to offer the distance learner the opportunity to learn more about model aeronautics in a nonjudgmental and casual format. We want Fly By to drive interest in the museum and increase visitation. We hope also to tie in Fly By with #AskClaire and draw from viewer questions and interests in order to provide content specifically requested by our constituency.

National Model Aviation Museum, Fly By logo.  The logo is a nose view of a model airplane with "Fly By" on either side of the engine in orange text.
National Model Aviation Museum, Fly By logo. The logo is a nose view of a model airplane with “Fly By” on either side of the engine in orange text.

Additionally, we will be launching a new virtual tour on the museum website on September 19, 2016. We are sure this update to a classic feature of our website will have a positive impact on web traffic. By offering access to quality content across various platforms, we hope to attract new visitors and fans to the Museum space, both physically and digitally.

For more information on the National Model Aviation Museum, including our location, hours and admission fees visit:


  1. Glad to see a young woman endorsing aviation and our hobby. Please send me a picture of Dillon and Claire standing next to the cardboard cutout of Hoot Gibson if you can.
    As for Claire’s aviation education and prep for flying, spend time on a simulator. Period. That is the first comment out of my mouth when anyone asks about getting started in this hobby no matter which type of flying craft they are interested in. The experience on the sim will save you many hours of repair work and frustrating crashes. Your flying will improve much faster when you can hit “reset” instead of spending your time slathering epoxy on broken pieces.
    In this hobby you have to be mentally prepared for the inevitable crash. It’s not IF you will crash but WHEN and HOW BADLY. Is it “fixable” or is it a “black bag crash.”
    Good luck on the show. It was informative and fun.
    Again, it was great to see a female involved. Not many in this hobby. And most young people seem more interested in the offerings of cyberworld and not getting outside with tangible things like aircraft. Good for you making it real. I know you are trying to make this a Live feed but if you could throw in some short video of flying some of either the full-scale version or of the models you have on display to show how they fly, that could jazz it up a bit. I also get nervous seeing you walking backwards in a museum. Yikes.
    PS Who should I contact about what types of aircraft the museum is interested in. I have a low aspect ratio scratch designed and built .40 glow powered model with video of it’s flight. Simple design, but challenging to fly. FYI Thanks again and good luck with the show.
    Tony (R.A. Bass) AMA 606207

    1. Tony, thank you! We really appreciate your comments and will see what we can do about the suggestions and the picture.
      As for the aircraft, here’s the info page on donations that has some fyi as well as a link to the submission form required to offer all models to the museum:
      You can also email me at and we can discuss it further.
      Thanks again for your support and interest! ~Maria

  2. Sorry but Claire is to young to have any history of models behind her. You have my email send me me all you know about rubber powered models 1935-1950. Contest or Sport…..


  3. I built the Miles M20 model that was adownload plan. It flies well. However, the parts package had punky wood. I failed to replace the balsa firewall with plywood. The electric motor keep falling off. I guess it was a worthwhile project.

    1. Hi, Gary,

      The video can be found on the museum’s Facebook page here: Scroll down to 9/9/2016 and you can watch the recording of that live session. To participate in the live session on 10/7/2016 you will need to have a Facebook account, but a recording of it will be available afterwards through the museum’s Facebook page.

      Michael is looking into the ramp freewheeler question and will follow up with you.


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