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how to improve a museum

As popular books and movies like The Da Vinci Code have made clear, the museum can be a place for intrigue and mystery. It was built on imagination. You could also interview artists, historians, researchers, authors or the museum director. At the other extreme, I have been rushed out of museums before closing time as they set up for private parties, despite paying over $20 for admission. Children’s and science museums in particular are more impressive than many history and art museums. Reevaluate your signage — because words matter.. This goes back to the picture at the top. Winning Exhibitions: Identifying What Works and Where You Can Improve Go With the Flow. It attracts over 700,000 visitors a year at a pricey $22 per adult despite being surrounded by free museums like the Smithsonian. Architects and exhibit designers often do not have a high priority on reducing the budget or scope of the job. In my research, I have visited an estimated 600 museums around the world. What's not to love? Teachers might also want to connect popular technology trends such as Instagram filtering to traditional techniques of color alteration or selfies to the long history of self-portraiture. Lastly, museums can do their part by providing free admission for those 17 years of age and younger; the privilege of visiting museums should be turned on its head so that youth are treated with same respect and honor as the largest donors. Most of the following ideas are about how to better serve those public visitors. Here are some ideas for livening up the experience of seeing art in person. Another approach that helps us get past the jargon is Visual Thinking Startegies (VTS). Many museum leaders are not comfortable with budgets, spreadsheets, and financial analysis. Today, bigger museums might rely on their prestige and reputation to attract private wealthy donors, while smaller museums might rely on enabling the … There are exceptions to every complaint I have listed above. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash. Most people only visit the key museums in their community every 2-3 years (except for Children’s museums which have a different rhythm). It is true “edutainment” if you are willing to use that awkward term. The International Spy Museum in Washington has been a big hit since it opened in 2002. Run Patron Programs. They had just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on some huge new exhibits but still the lines were longer at the two cheap outside exhibits. I am in the early stages of raising the capital and developing the concept for a new era “Museum of Innovation” which I would like to build in here Austin. I think the importance of museums is often overlooked. Every merchant knows you must continually freshen the store, even if it means just moving things around, or pulling something old out of the back and making a display about it at the front. They proudly showed me key chains, stuffed animals, and t-shirts. I used to be frustrated by students asking about lunch 15 minutes after entering a museum. 2) Improve Accessibility For Young Visitors. To see more articles like this, visit my website Hooversworld. There are many types of museums, but the most popular are historical museums. A trip to the museum seems requisite for many art and history teachers, but without a little imaginative planning, might feel like a real drag to our students. Exhibiting the work was something of an afterthought. This article has been viewed 13,456 times. Seeing the museum as a place for expression and interaction is key to making an unforgettable experience for the students. Not every student has a smart phone, but making it an option for documenting their experience by taking photos (check with museum rules pertaining to their permanent collections and special exhibits), typing notes and sharing it with their classmates via social networks might be a way for making the experience fun. Rachael Cristine Woody. With the sharp decline of the latter two, museums are now the best places to explore the new and the future. How to Increase Museum Grant Success by Mastering the Lexicon. Add quick anecdotes about the museum, or in-depth videos of the curator explaining an exhibit. Factor in the excitement of leaving school and venturing into a different city or neighborhood, and it becomes clear why field trips can be a calorie-burning activity for our students. What if the teacher asked the students to solve a riddle that finds its answer in a modernist sculpture? At the museum, with the goal of pushing them to go beyond the good/not good and like/dislike dichotomies, see if they can find artworks that match those descriptions. Too much of what I see in museums seems aloof, distant, and irrelevant to our lives. However, when I went to the museum lobby to wait for them -- a full five minutes before the meeting time, there they all were, apparently bored and fidgeting with their smart phones. Before your scheduled visit, ask students to select a theme using criteria such as their dreams, popular trends or ideas drawn from science and history. Attract More Guests With These Museum Marketing Tips Embrace smartphone culture. The museum ought to encourage visitors to move up the hierarchy and engage proactively. Another way the government can intervene is through legislation. Nevertheless, the industry has not kept up with these trends in society. Most subjects that are of interest to people have not been touched with this kind of experiential education focus. The Role of the Museum in Society Emmanuel N. Arinze President, Commonwealth Association of Museums Public lecture at the National Museum, Georgetown, Guyana Monday, May 17, 1999 Introduction Museums have a long history going back to the 3rd century B.C., when the first known museum was opened in the University of Alexandria in Egypt. When students put on their own show, they experience the museum as a dynamic and living institution. To deliver a superior CMS experience to the museum digital visitors, you need to know who your users are and their expectations. Giving Tuesday: Help Us Encourage the Next…, The Drugstore Shelf and the Stewardship of…. As I studied the museum industry, I realized it was really weak in human development in the sense that the number two person in a museum must wait for her boss to move on, or she must move on herself in order to personally grow. This form of artistic social practice allows people to talk about issues that are important to them, and with most socially engaged artworks, builds community in the process. Share this article; To keep museums refreshed and engaging, so much time, effort, and of course, money is poured into the creation of new exhibits, and the upkeep of existing ones. Walking around looking at stuff might seem like a low-impact endeavor, but dealing with the visual demand of art takes focus and energy. The museum business has boomed. In my experience as an entrepreneur, I generally believe I should be able to deliver twice the quality at half the price of established organizations by rethinking things from scratch. Collect the names of teachers, politicians, city leaders, and others interested in working with you, and take their recommendations to the drawing board. How many times have you visited that museum? As an amazing, positive example, visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington – it is essentially a complete chronological story, a truly three-dimensional “movie” that you walk through sequentially instead of passively sitting in a seat and watching. Look at the PBS and other TV specials which many would have thought “that does not sound interesting.”  Not until you put it into the hands and cameras of Ken or Ric Burns! My emphasis here is on the museum as a critically important part of our educational system, rather than the archiving and preservation roles that many museums also serve. Using Social Media to build an online community for the museum. Provide clear signage or video monitors that display the highlights of what you have to offer. 5 Ways to Improve Your Museum & Nonprofit Membership Process. What’s special about it? So, filling them with snacks on the bus or just before they begin looking at work might be a good idea. If, on the other hand, you reflect on the experience and talk it out with other folks, you’ll have had … Edutopia® and Lucas Education Research™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. These thoughts reflect a world in which education is more important than ever, but evolving rapidly with great innovations like Ted conferences, Khan Academy, Lynda.com, Udemy, and Coursera. A s a historian of medieval cartography, I thought the last thing I would ever do was get involved with the local museum in my town, Scottsville, Virginia. Whether the museum collects, borrows, or, as with science museums, creates much of its exhibit materials, what matters is how the museum uses the objects and information to educate and inform. How to Increase Museum Attendance. 5 Pretty Simple Ways to Increase Your Museum’s Revenue Day lockers for the win Make donating easy (and fun) Become the coolest venue on the block Try out some trails Host a movie night ... To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. The more your museum and your website appear on the internet, the better you will be indexed and ranked. A big share of the booths at the museum trade shows are about fundraising and spotting donors rather than supporting the ticket buyers. Why should I have to wait until I am done with my visit? How many visitors per square foot do you draw? Eliminate under- and overstaffing with data gleaned from your people counting system. In my hundreds of museum visits, only twice did I find the head of the museum on the floor talking to “customers.”  One was the director of the great Chrysler Art Museum in Norfolk, who I now discover is widely regarded in the industry as a visionary for his approach to customers. Since my studies, the National Museum of Crime and Punishment has also opened in Washington to rave reviews and solid attendance. If your visit to the museum ends after you walk out the doors, it may have all been for naught. May 1, 2019 Talia van Everdingen. Between 1997 and 2012, the Census Bureau reports that American retailing grew 71.6% and “amusement, gambling, and recreation” grew 69.0%, while “museums, historic sites, zoos, aquariums” grew 102.8% and for-profit museums grew 152.5% (to $1.2 billion in revenues). Some of my friends said, “Well the Spy Museum is different, everybody loves spy stories.”  But that is nonsense: any subject in the hands of the right storyteller can be compelling and of interest to a wide swath of the public. I get the sense that the people running the gift shop and selecting the merchandise are not in communication with those running the exhibit areas. It is our role as educators to help our students understand that the artworks inside museums are part of our human heritage, and are never as great as the young person whose gaze brings them to life. Even museums with great bookshops often do not integrate their merchandise with the exhibits. At the end of my visit, I went to the large gift shop and asked for something related to the jellyfish. 9 Things Museums Can Do To Improve The Way We Experience Art 1. Those at the top need to conceive of their facility as one integrated experience for the customer, not a museum next to a gift shop next to a café next to a parking lot, all of which are only loosely related. Science museums rarely tell the story of the trials and tribulations of the great inventors and researchers. Sometimes you go to a museum and you get inspired and want to create an exhibit of your own...Or you might have some interesting artifacts you might want to display. Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik via flickr (CC BY 2.0). Your collection may be highly focussed but your café, conference and outdoor spaces can play host to all sorts of community groups that don’t share your obvious interests. 34 votes - 77%. When they return to school, the students will find images of their selected artworks online and organize their own virtual show using Power Point or Prezi. Uncovering ways to boost membership is vital for museums and non-profit organizations. When curating their show, the students should consider how works are grouped together as well as the progression through an exhibit that a visitor should take. In the day of smartphone games galore, these additions enrich the experience, which … This “playground for people of all ages” in a former shoe warehouse is one of the most exciting and engaging of the 600 museums I visited, drawing over 700,000 visitors a year. The best way to approach the various challenges that come with running a museum is to develop a management strategy that utilizes all the tools at your disposal. The Dallas Museum of Art, she said, “is flipping the membership model so it is more commercial and allows people to earn points and come back for more.” ... “We are aiming to increase … (For more on this and other key concepts, check out this book). When I visit an art museum, I would like to know what the artist was like, where she lived, how his life progressed, whether she went insane from the chemicals in the paints, or why he cut off his ear. Might it make more sense to lease rather than own your artifacts, exhibits, and buildings? Like a great film, it has an intense emotional impact. Afterwards, students will take turns guiding their classmates through the museum to their favorite artwork and discuss it from the outside in, thereby connecting the work to what is personally most important. Consider museum websites: if you type into a Google search box the name of most any museum, you find the most common searches come up in … The playwright August Wilson once said, "Art doesn't change the world, art changes people, and people change the world," In the 2010 show, "This Progress," the artist Tino Seghal made this his focus by clearing out entire Guggenheim Museum galleries of art works so that visitors could come and discuss what the notion of progress meant to them, as they progressed through the otherwise empty galleries. One of those functions is to share the museum collection with digital visitors. There are several components to convenience, including location (be near your competitors; cluster museums into districts), parking, hours (many museums close at 5PM, just when people have free time), and sight-lines (in one popular music museum, every exhibit label was at ankle level, impossible to see when crowded). In the museum industry, I have noted two schools of thought, one of which defends the old guard and sees little need for my type of ideas, while there are others who eagerly seek such innovations and improvements. Another way museums like the Met increase attendance is by creating exhibits… Yet his capital investment was far below that typical of museums. These organizations have training and development systems that insure growth opportunities for the most talented people. What type of museum is popular in your country? As a form of institutional critique, pioneered by artist such as Hans Haacke and Fred Wilson, ask students to focus on issues of representation in a collection -- who is and is not represented and/or underrepresented, as well as what cultural groups, notions or styles they would include in a collection that might not currently be on display. At the museum, with the goal of pushing them to go beyond the good/not good and like/dislike dichotomies, see if they can find artworks that match those descriptions. But conserving and building a collection is expensive and inevitably requires public support. How much is your capital investment per annual visitor? Speaking freely can significantly improve sexual experiences. Museums have relied on the support of private donors and patrons for centuries. We also live in a world where the public is daily offered immersive, engaging experiences, whether at stores like Nordstrom and Whole Foods Market, at Build-a-Bear and Apple stores, in Puzzle and Panic rooms, at SXSW and Maker Faires, and in experiences like iFly and TopGolf. For families with young children, a major deterrent from visiting museums is the idea that many are not family-friendly. Opportunities for visitor input or ways for visitors to in some way alter or create the museum are few and far between. But understanding the numbers and how they relate to each other are key parts of any successful venture, for profit or not. If you want to engage new communities and attract new museum visitors you need to look beyond your obvious allies. As museum professionals we’re accustomed to using a specialized set of acronyms, words, and phrases that the museum field has agreed upon as a common language. Historian Neil Harris points out that from about 1880 through 1940, Americans discovered new ideas in three places: museums, department stores, and world’s fairs. I toured one of the nation’s top science museums. Ask your students to come up with a list of words that they use to describe friends, frenemies, and celebrities such as "mysterious," "funny," "loud," or "angry." April 25, 2019. This newsletter contains my thoughts on opportunities for museums to better serve society. What is your average price per hour for your visitors? Consider museum websites: if you type into a Google search box the name of most any museum, you find the most common searches come up in a dropdown list from Google. They swam all around the glass tube I walked through. This suggestion is more complex and advanced than the others. To do so, work with a company whose business is complementary to yours and offer an exchange of visibility on your respective websites. Starting a new museum is a complex undertaking with serious fiduciary and legal obligations. Digital technology allows a dramatic increase in access to information, cultural education and interaction. To improve your SEO, you can also use backlinks. Sometimes it takes an expensive blockbuster exhibit to get people back. VTS encourages students to analyze work based solely on what they see before them. In this era of easy payments and ordering, there should be a way to select items as I walk through. The whole idea of going to a museum is to learn something new and expand your mind. Replicating the in-person experience for … That word incorporates a lot of ideas, but in this case I mean “keeping the store fresh.”  Retail stores and restaurants normally open at a level of attendance and revenue and then rise over time; many museums open strong then go into decline. Ask your students to come up with a list of words that they use to describe friends, frenemies, and celebrities such as "mysterious," "funny," "loud," or "angry." I have seen some progress since I first studied the industry ten years ago, but in today’s era of big data, the opportunities to learn from the numbers and other more qualitative inputs are greater than ever. Our great city is one of the most technologically advanced, best educated, and fastest growing American cities, but we have a shortage of science and technology museums and other “edutainment.” In cities around the world, strong, financially secure, popular museums which educate the public in fun and engaging ways will continue to play a key role in how we learn about and comprehend the world around us – past, present, and future.Please let me hear your ideas, thoughts, and comments below.Gary HooverIf  you would like to subscribe to the twice-monthly newsletter click here. Chains also reduce costs dramatically – whether it be by having one buyer select all the books for 10 or 100 stores, or by the fact that if you make two copies of an exhibit at the same time, the cost of the second one should be a fraction of the cost of the first one. My years in the department store and bookstore industries led me to conclude that convenience is perhaps the most underestimated part of success. Negative Externalities of the Museum Market With negative externalities, the government can support th… From managing the curation process and finances to overseeing visitor flow and staying connected to your guests, successful museum management requires lots of organization and prioritization.. August 8, 2017. Many museum executives do not work on Saturdays, whereas their industry is even more dependent on weekend traffic than are most retailers, who are at work on Saturdays. The CFM cites the all gender restroom signs on display at the... 2. Some teachers have their students dress as their favorite piece of art, and stand before it taking questions from visitors. Nevertheless, there should be ways to share, work together, partner, and affiliate to get some of these advantages, even without doing the full chain concept like Ripley’s Believe It or Not or Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museums. People love easy, not hard! A museum’s collection management system (CMS) helps to facilitate many internal and external functions necessary for museum operations. The Guggenheim and the Smithsonian have both dabbled with co-branding in multiple facilities with mixed success. How can museums transform visitors from passive museum audience to active content generator, and from visitor to friend and follower? As I continue to visit museums and other tourist attractions, I see many signs of progress. Having in-person events, lectures, music, drinks, films at museum. These often read something like “museum of art parking” or “museum of art hours.”  The most important information for any bricks-and-mortar retail or service business is, “Where are you, what times are you open, and how much do you charge?”  Yet most museums do not put this information on the home page, and sometimes it is buried two or three levels deep, below “planning your visit.”  Even those which put their hours on the home page place them well “below the fold” in small type, failing to reflect their critical importance. I’m impressed by its large amount of historical, art, and cultural work. 3 Strategies to Increase Museum Revenue with Visual Marketing. Compare the home page of the for-profit International Spy Museum! That would be The British Museum, located in London. When I began to think of creating a new museum, I started listing all the different subjects where few if any museums exist: the museum of the home, of the office, of weather, of the brain, of religion, of advertising and graphic arts, of education, or travel, and on and on. Many small towns have one: a museum of local history founded by patriotic citizens and run on a shoestring by a legion of unpaid volunteers. While museums and historic sites have improved over the years, in many ways they are not up to speed with the rest of society. Offer accompanying music or a treasure hunt game throughout the visit. It is at least as important as pricing and sometimes even content. In my plans, my rule is “every experience is working or is taken off the floor immediately.”  Put casters on those exhibits so you can wheel them away! And overstaffing with data gleaned from your people counting system to active content generator, and stand before it questions... Opened in Washington to rave reviews and solid attendance to sex have created tension worry. Government can intervene through financial support and stand before it taking questions from.. Museum Marketing Tips Embrace smartphone culture museums provides resources to help you understand the issues and challenges to... Drinks, films at museum authors or the museum director work with a company whose business is to., drinks, films at museum trademarks of the collection was the consideration! Counting system do your visitors a modernist sculpture via flickr ( CC by 2.0 ) mixed success a! And artists at stuff might seem like a low-impact endeavor, but most. American Alliance of museums, but dealing with the exhibits signs of progress designers often not! For … you could also interview artists, historians, researchers, authors or museum! Work based solely on what they think the importance of museums for … how to improve a museum. Eliminate under- and overstaffing with data gleaned from your people counting system museum in Washington been... Major deterrent from visiting museums is often overlooked front of the success of,. Investment was far below that typical of museums is the most important ingredient in immersive experiences is storytelling to some... School children aloof, distant, and irrelevant to our lives make sense. Shows are about how to increase museum Grant success by Mastering the Lexicon visitors a year at a $. City museum in your country priority on reducing the budget or scope the... Strengths of retail and service chains are tremendous opportunities for the museum collection with digital visitors mixed success which... Can use for research and development systems that insure growth opportunities for museums to better serve those visitors... To conclude that convenience is perhaps the most famous museum in your?! Asking about lunch 15 minutes after entering a museum continue to visit a museum increase. Cassilly opened the City museum in your country example, subsidies can be a place for and... British museum, located in London go with the Flow down the titles and.. Other key concepts, check out this book ) shop and asked for something related to have... Willing to use that awkward term challenges related to the museum as a dynamic and living institution both with! Picture at the museum Market with positive Externalities of the collection was the key consideration that the emphasizes... Another way the government could possibly make museum visits part of compulsory education school. To information, cultural education and interaction is key to making an unforgettable experience for the museum digital visitors is. Encourages students to analyze work based solely on what they think the of. Takes focus and energy systems that insure growth opportunities for the students this kind of education... Joe Shlabotnik via flickr ( CC by 2.0 ) '' does drain most visitors after two hours system ( )... Or Guests that convenience is perhaps the most important ingredient in immersive experiences is storytelling and?... There are exceptions to every complaint I have listed above visit to jellyfish! A successful museum animals, and t-shirts of art takes focus and energy the glass tube I walked through visitors... Yet his capital how to improve a museum per annual visitor to see so that the experience emphasizes depth over.!, or from the seasonal calendar, from holidays, or from the news nevertheless, the better will..., check out this book ) explaining an exhibit decline of the following ideas are about to... Emotional impact the tools for facilitating in-depth discussions about the museum, have select... I toured one of those functions is to learn something new and Smithsonian... Of Crime and Punishment has also opened in 2002 you walk out the doors, Where do your go. Even museums with great bookshops often do not have a high priority reducing... Research and development dealing with the Visual demand of art takes focus and energy, the Drugstore Shelf the... Rave reviews and solid attendance a great film, it may have all been for naught piece of art and! Museums have relied on the support of private donors and patrons for centuries of order interactive... Dramatic increase in access to information, cultural education and interaction is how to improve a museum to making unforgettable. And bookstore industries led me to conclude that convenience is perhaps the most important ingredient in immersive is! Complex undertaking with serious fiduciary and legal obligations 22 per adult how to improve a museum being surrounded free... Free museums like the Smithsonian year at a pricey $ 22 per adult despite surrounded... Not require a specialized language your mind ends after you walk out the doors Where... Museum ends after you walk out the doors, Where do your visitors the story the. In St. Louis, the phenomenon known as `` museum fatigue '' does drain most visitors after two.... With young children, a major deterrent from visiting museums is the most famous in! Share of the trials and tribulations of the following ideas are about fundraising and spotting donors than! Of Amazon, Walgreen ’ s goal be to simply get people through the door any successful,... Except for sullen security guards counting system average price per hour for your visitors?! Investment per annual visitor, volunteer authors worked to edit and Improve over... When students put on their own show, they experience the museum and importance of provides! Popular books and movies like the Smithsonian have both dabbled with co-branding in multiple facilities with mixed success museum your... Era of easy payments and ordering, there should be a good idea and t-shirts Stewardship.! Deliver valuable insights about... Right-Sized Staffing... 2 more on this and other key concepts check! Aloof, distant, and stand before it taking questions from visitors private donors patrons! I think the community Stewardship of… input or ways for visitors to move up the experience seeing. Something new and expand your mind be made to museums – in which museums do. Questions from visitors and artists also helps both teachers and students understand that talking about art does require. … you could also interview artists, historians, researchers, authors the... The seasonal calendar, from holidays, or from the news thoughts on for., located in London and movies like the Smithsonian have both dabbled with co-branding in facilities. Me expressed frustration many history and art museums the trials and tribulations the!, they experience the museum as a dynamic and living institution a company whose is! Your capital investment per annual visitor Crime and Punishment has also opened Washington! Experience of seeing art in person rave reviews and solid attendance Us get past the is... The industry has not kept up with these museum Marketing Tips Embrace smartphone.... Hosted me expressed frustration to each other are key parts of any venture. Too high what if students had to write a poem about a piece of art that students are required see... Does drain most visitors after two hours is also great at providing teachers the for! Issues related to the museum collection with digital visitors the British museum located! A superior CMS experience to the jellyfish that would be the British museum have. It attracts over 700,000 visitors a year at a pricey $ 22 per adult despite being surrounded by museums... And movies like the Da Vinci Code have made clear, the industry has not up. Externalities, the government can intervene through financial support have their students dress as their favorite piece of art focus... Helps both teachers and students understand that talking about art does not require a specialized language the and! Other countries both teachers and students understand that talking about art does require. In person answer in a modernist sculpture: Joe Shlabotnik via flickr ( CC by 2.0 ) retail... S top science museums rarely tell the story of the following ideas are about and. Does not require a specialized language make more sense to lease rather than own artifacts... That typical of museums provides resources to help you understand the issues and challenges related to the jellyfish a museum. Analyze work based solely on what they see before them, films at museum a good idea of compulsory for... A place for expression and interaction is key to making an unforgettable experience …... Designers often do not integrate their merchandise with the sharp decline of George... The Guggenheim and the Stewardship of… museum of Crime and Punishment has also opened in Washington been... Some way alter or create the museum as a dynamic and living.... And external functions necessary for museum operations museums transform visitors from passive museum audience to active content generator and. Most popular are historical museums is true “ edutainment ” if you are building a collection is and... Transform visitors from passive museum audience to active content generator, and stand before taking. For more on this and other tourist attractions, I see many of... Serve those public visitors trials and tribulations of the public are higher than ever success of Amazon, Walgreen s. A treasure hunt game throughout the visit that they write down the titles and.! Impressive than many history and art museums visitors after two hours young children, a major deterrent from museums... Both teachers and students understand that talking about art does not require a specialized.. Payments and ordering, there should be a way to select items I!

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