8 incredible museums sharing on Pinterest

The Natural History Museum in London. (Flickr)

Pinterest has a reputation as the social media channel for food and fashion, but thereís much more to the visual network. Itís a combination of eye candy and information, with businesses, educators and magazines now using Pinterest to complement their other online material.

One surprising industry that has jumped on the bandwagon is that of museums. Several of these venerable cultural institutions have proven themselves masters of Pinterestís social media world. Museums of all kinds and sizes have created profiles, and theyíre finding creative ways to bring their programs to an online audience.

From famous institutions to local operations, here are eight museums that are pinning like champions.

1. Londonís Natural History Museum has a Pinterest page that creates a sense of community and openness, which is surprising for an institution that could easily be seen as stuffy and elite. Not only do many pins showcase artifacts and objects from the permanent collection, but the social media curators also seek out photos taken by visitors.

For instance, a board devoted to the annual Science Uncovered event includes visitor photos culled from Instagram and Twitter.

2. The J. Paul Getty is particularly noteworthy on this list for its impressive audience of more than 1 million followers. Part of what makes its profile unique is the tongue-in-cheek approach to what pieces it shares, both from the Gettyís own collection and from all over the art world.

How could you not love a Pinterest board of striking smiles titled <URL destination="http://www.pinterest.com/gettymuseum/say-cheese/">ďSay Cheese!Ē?

</URL>3. Museum at FIT: This museum is an obvious match for Pinterest. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which has dubbed itself ďthe most fashionable museum in New York City,Ē caters to the sartorial obsession of many Pinterest members with a rare level of expertise.

Expect to see pins of amazing art and artifacts from the fashion world throughout history.

4. National Cowboy Museum: You probably didnít even know the National Cowboy Museum was a thing. This institution is all about the history, art and pop culture of those frontier folks.

On Pinterest, its main focus is on items from the museumís store, but you can also get fashion ideas, decorating inspiration and a little bit of education on the side. Itís a must-follow for anybody who loves the Wild West.

5. San Diego Air and Space Museum: The focus is definitely on education and community with this Pinterest account. The San Diego Air and Space Museum has boards dedicated to events and projects for teachers. The museum took a smart approach to sharing interesting historical moments in aviation history by creating boards for different eras.

If you just want to see cool pictures, youíll also find stills from aviation movies and portraits of famed flyers.

6. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: For aeronautics with an East Coast flair, go to the Pinterest page for the Smithsonianís National Air and Space Museum. The topics are very similar to those shared by the San Diego institution, offering followers a great combination of educational facts and flights of fancy.

The still photos from the museumís Public Observatory are especially cool.

7. Button Art Museum: Pinterest has billed itself as a place for people to share their passions, and that wholehearted love is on grand display with the Button Art Museumís Pinterest profile. Whether youíre looking for project ideas, impressive artwork or just a huge number of buttons in all shapes and sizes, this is a place to share your obsession.

8. Morikami Museum: You might not think Southern Florida is a likely place for learning about Japanese culture, but thatís precisely what the Morikami Museum has set out to do. Luckily for non-Floridians, the museum has brought a large portion of its program online.

Learn about the celebration of Japanese New Year, marvel at intricate origami and watch a video of a traditional tea ceremony, all from Morikamiís highly-informative Pinterest page.

This article originally appeared on Mashable, www.mashable.com