On March 11, the National Polytechnical Museum in Sofia hosted the first ever Wikimedia photo-thon in Bulgaria in collaboration with the Wikimedians of Bulgaria User Group. The event was open for attendance – and well attended not only by Wikimedians, but also by photographers and families with kids, who could learn about the history of technics, technologies and science in this proactive and non-traditional way.
In 2017, the Museum observes its 60-th anniversary and the Wikimedian photo-thon was one of the 60 special events included in the celebration programme throughout the year, all aimed at drawing attention to the fascinating world of science and technology. Expectedly, the event resulted in many Wikipedia articles being illustrated and even some new articles created.
Weeks before the photography marathon, a Facebook event was created and popularized among Wikimedians, photographers and media. A press publication in the online news site "Dnevnik" announced the event in advance, and a photo gallery covered it, and a live reportage for the private national TV channel "bTV" featured an interview with one of the Wikimedians who organized the photo-thon. A detailed guide to museum photography was developed and printed for the visitors for reference purposes and will serve future GLAM photo-thons as well.
What is specific about some of the exhibits in the National Polytechnical Museum is that they allow for not only capturing in plain photos, but also in videos, demonstrating their full capacity of operation. Due to the limited time, however, few of the 8000 exhibits could be captured in multimedia, thus allowing for another photo-thon to be organized in future, with more attention to the physical and chemical experiments that can be demonstrated by the museum staff.
In recent years, the community behind the Bulgarian version of Wikipedia has been interested in and open for various collaborations with cultural and educational institutions, which has resulted in generation of available and high quality encyclopedic and educational content. Specifically the collaboration between the "Wikimedians of Bulgaria" UG and the National Polytechnical Museum dates back to early 2016, when the museum hosted the national conference "Volunteers in Bulgarian museums" organized by the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and for the first time there was a dedicated lecture about the Wikimedia/GLAM partnerships and the opportunities Wikimedia gives to museums to develop in the digital age.
Thus, during the photo-thon, a presentation about Wikipedia was again given to the interested museum visitors, who were also able to meet six of the most active Bulgarian Wiki[p,m]edians, who also helped for the upload of the content, produced during the event. 205 new files were uploaded as a result of the photo-thon, compared to less than 10 available photos in Commons before the event. Many of these new images are 360-degrees photographies. Already, almost 10% of these new uploads are already in use in the Bulgarian and English Wikipedia.