Museums and Attractions 

Demand for museums is growing, up 54% in 2017 on the prior year (SKIFT and TripAdvisor research, 2017). However, around the world smaller museums and galleries are being challenged by larger institutions, who have adopted new technologies, such as virtual reality and more actively involve their visitors as participants. 

 

As highlighted under experience development, the value of integrating user-generated content (UGC) is increasingly critical, not just for engaging the audience in a more personal way but to support marketing efforts by utilising the voice of those who people trust the most, their peer group. In fact, research by Nielsen Global found that 92% of consumers trust word of mouth marketing and UGC more than traditional forms of advertising (Nielsen Global Report, Trust in Advertising, September 2015). 

 

There are many ways to more actively engage or involve your audience. This may start long before a visit. It could be through an opportunity to participate in an online panel discussion, which may include leaders in their respective fields, or a reminiscence session, where people can contribute their memories and stories of their involvement. Beyond the virtual world, workshops or events with special guest speakers can provide opportunities for volunteers, visitors and experts to connect in an inspiring setting. All these ideas can contribute to new revenue streams and help to build a loyal community of supporters.

An outstanding, world-class example of what is already happening in the masterclass space is www.masterclass.com

 

Best practice in interpretation is essential to ensure your visitors get the most out of their experience. This includes:
 

  • Encouraging active involvement and participation, including leveraging first-hand experiences and facilitating imagined reality. For example, through interaction with local characters or using technology to allow them to step back into ancient Australia.
     

  • Optimising all the senses. Interpretation is enhanced through creating more sensory experiences.
     

  • Inspire curiosity and a desire to find out more, including allowing for moments of self-discovery and incorporating elements of surprise. It is about engaging your visitor on a journey of discovery, especially in the context of their leisure time.
     

  • Personalisation based on your visitors’ own interests, memories or stories. In this way, the exhibition or gallery can enrich a visitor’s perception, participation and experience by making it more relevant to them.
     

  • Ensuring that the use of technology enhances while not displacing the purpose or meaning of the exhibition or gallery. Start by creating the story you want to share and then develop the elements to bring this to life in a meaningful and compelling way.

 

These are the basics. But if you truly want to find out how to attract and engage a new audience then watch the Museum Hack’s YouTube video about his Met Tours in New York City. Please do yourself a favour and watch to the end.

If you are in a rush, then the most important points the hugely successful and quite quirky Museum Hack makes are:

 

  • Reimagine the adult museum experience. We would add that while you’re at it, reimagine the kids’ one too.

  • The three things that make the biggest impact are Guides, Games and Gossip. 

    • World-class Guides - story-telling that entertains, delivered with passion. If you entertain with passion, then people are more likely to be interested in education

    • Smart Humour, Mind Blowing Facts, Juicy Gossip

    • Small Group, VIP, Social Experience

  • Reposition your tours as Museum Adventures.

 

Read more about it here: www.museumhack.com

Attractions and museums should consider partnerships and collaboration to reinforce their part in the broader story, in this case the Wonder of Gondwana. A Journey into Ancient Australia. This might involve the visitor in various elements, such as being immersed in an interactive exhibit, participating in a special-interest workshop, helping to unearth a fossil, fossicking for a rare gemstone or participating in an event as part of a broader experience of which the museum or attraction is a part. This includes opportunities for partnerships with leading institutions, such as the Australian Museum.

Inspiring example of best practice: As darkness falls and Uluru is thrown into silhouette, Field of Light illuminates. As far as the eye can see gentle rhythms of colour light up the desert.

 

The critically acclaimed Field of Light Uluru by the internationally celebrated artist Bruce Munro is on display and due to popular demand, has now been extended indefinitely.The exhibition, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara is Munro’s largest work to date. Overwhelming in size, covering more than seven football fields, it invites immersion in its fantasy garden of 50,000 spindles of light, the stems breathing and swaying through a sympathetic desert spectrum of ochre, deep violet, blue and gentle white.

Watch the Field of Light Uluru video for even more inspiration.

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