Too much of what I see in museums seems aloof, distant, and irrelevant to our lives. At one time, the size and importance of the collection was the key consideration. Do you capture zip codes of every visitor? How many visitors per square foot do you draw? To see more articles like this, visit my website Hooversworld. What makes a museum successful? 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. Rachael Cristine Woody. The more your museum and your website appear on the internet, the better you will be indexed and ranked. 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." 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. How to Increase Museum Grant Success by Mastering the Lexicon. It is at least as important as pricing and sometimes even content. This goes back to the picture at the top. Some of the best truly interactive exhibits I have seen did not have a computer in sight – they were entirely powered by Post-It notes and Bic pens! The International Spy Museum in Washington has been a big hit since it opened in 2002. Eliminate under- and overstaffing with data gleaned from your people counting system. 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. May 1, 2019 Talia van Everdingen. Today, bigger museums might rely on their prestige and reputation to attract private wealthy donors, while smaller museums might rely on enabling the … For-profit museums are especially booming: they are healthy taxpayers and they have an intensified incentive to focus on the satisfaction of visitors, not donors. 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. 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. 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. 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. When students put on their own show, they experience the museum as a dynamic and living institution. 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. To improve your SEO, you can also use backlinks. Having in-person events, lectures, music, drinks, films at museum. That would be The British Museum, located in London. 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. But conserving and building a collection is expensive and inevitably requires public support. 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. VTS is also great at providing teachers the tools for facilitating in-depth discussions about the work. Another way the government can intervene is through legislation. At the museum, have them select works that match that theme, making sure that they write down the titles and artists. 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. Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik via flickr (CC BY 2.0). If, on the other hand, you reflect on the experience and talk it out with other folks, you’ll have had … 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. 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 toured one of the nation’s top science museums. Starting a Museum National Building Museum, The Hive. 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 Compare the home page of the for-profit International Spy Museum! 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. This newsletter contains my thoughts on opportunities for museums to better serve society. In my research, I have visited an estimated 600 museums around the world. The museum business has boomed. 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. I am a museum lover and in recent years have become a museum critic, as in “movie critic.”  I developed a concept for a “new era” museum in 2006 and 2007 but hit the recession of 2008 and could not raise the required funds. So, filling them with snacks on the bus or just before they begin looking at work might be a good idea. My years in the department store and bookstore industries led me to conclude that convenience is perhaps the most underestimated part of success. What is your average price per hour for your visitors? Once through your doors, where do your visitors go? For families with young children, a major deterrent from visiting museums is the idea that many are not family-friendly. How can we make students excited to visit a museum? A big share of the booths at the museum trade shows are about fundraising and spotting donors rather than supporting the ticket buyers. These organizations have training and development systems that insure growth opportunities for the most talented people. How much is your capital investment per annual visitor? 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. The Guerilla Girls are a group of female activists who wear gorilla masks and, more importantly, by staging outrageous stunts, highlight the lack of women artists featured in major collections. Most of the following ideas are about how to better serve those public visitors. At the end of my visit, I went to the large gift shop and asked for something related to the jellyfish. Amenities geared toward families are worth investing in and promoting to potential visitors. Might it make more sense to lease rather than own your artifacts, exhibits, and buildings? But understanding the numbers and how they relate to each other are key parts of any successful venture, for profit or not. April 25, 2019. Here are some ideas on how to catch up. The number of “out of order” interactive exhibits is far too high. 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. Here are some ideas for livening up the experience of seeing art in person. By taking a closer look at museum exhibit design — you will see such designers are able to tap into the senses as they choreograph different elements like narrative and interaction to spark visitor curiosity. Seeing the museum as a place for expression and interaction is key to making an unforgettable experience for the students. When I visited the Independence Hall visitor center in Philadelphia, all the rest rooms were out of order or had no toilet paper – at any well-run retail store, that would never be tolerated. 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. What is the most famous museum in your country? To do so, work with a company whose business is complementary to yours and offer an exchange of visibility on your respective websites. It is a key part of the success of Amazon, Walgreen’s, CVS, Sheetz, and Wawa. August 8, 2017. Edutopia® and Lucas Education Research™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. Collect the names of teachers, politicians, city leaders, and others interested in working with you, and take their recommendations to the drawing board. Over and over again, at museums, I have to ask, “Where is the nearest bookstore?” Museums draw among the most educated customers of any industry, yet many do not respect those customers. This exercise also helps both teachers and students understand that talking about art does not require a specialized language. 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). The exhibit staff member who hosted me expressed frustration. One was a retired centrifugal amusement park ride, where you stand up and spin around in a circle, and the other was a pickup truck on a platform at the other end of a giant lever – even kids could pull the rope that dangled from one end, lifting the pickup truck on the other end into the air. What if students had to write a poem about a piece of art? Go to town halls and get in touch with leaders of the community. 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. Walking around looking at stuff might seem like a low-impact endeavor, but dealing with the visual demand of art takes focus and energy. 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. When growing up, we learn and hear about older civilizations, periods in time, and significant figures throughout the history of the human race, but we rarely get to see the actual remnants used in these time periods without a visit to some sort of museum. Should an art museum’s goal be to simply get people through the door? There are many types of museums, but the most popular are historical museums. 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. 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. Reevaluate your signage — because words matter.. Museums have relied on the support of private donors and patrons for centuries. What’s special about it? Most subjects that are of interest to people have not been touched with this kind of experiential education focus. Many museum leaders are not comfortable with budgets, spreadsheets, and financial analysis. 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. Another approach that helps us get past the jargon is Visual Thinking Startegies (VTS). The collection (and therefore the museum) is most valuable for what people learn from it, not for what they can look at. 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. 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. 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. ... To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Since my studies, the National Museum of Crime and Punishment has also opened in Washington to rave reviews and solid attendance. One responder of the Museum Survey mentioned these when asked what might interest them to visit more: “Extended evening hours, more events like … Positive Externalities of the Museum Market With positive externalities, the government can intervene through financial support. To deliver a superior CMS experience to the museum digital visitors, you need to know who your users are and their expectations. They swam all around the glass tube I walked through. 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. Attract More Guests With These Museum Marketing Tips Embrace smartphone culture. It attracts over 700,000 visitors a year at a pricey $22 per adult despite being surrounded by free museums like the Smithsonian. How to Increase Museum Attendance. The government could possibly make museum visits part of compulsory education for school children. 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. Why should I have to wait until I am done with my visit? This article has been viewed 13,456 times. It was built on imagination. 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.. 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. 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. Great merchants take their clues from the seasonal calendar, from holidays, or from the news. On my first visit to the beautiful Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, I was blown away by a stunning exhibit on jellyfish, some of the most beautiful and dangerous beings on earth. 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. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash. 3 Strategies to Increase Museum Revenue with Visual Marketing. Yet his capital investment was far below that typical of museums. 2) Improve Accessibility For Young Visitors. What type of museum is popular in your country? Nevertheless, the industry has not kept up with these trends in society. Giving Tuesday: Help Us Encourage the Next…, The Drugstore Shelf and the Stewardship of…. Winning Exhibitions: Identifying What Works and Where You Can Improve Go With the Flow. Children’s and science museums in particular are more impressive than many history and art museums. How many times have you visited that museum? You could also interview artists, historians, researchers, authors or the museum director. Using Social Media to build an online community for the museum. 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. Offer accompanying music or a treasure hunt game throughout the visit. Many museums make less eye contact than Wal-Mart, except for sullen security guards. Exhibiting the work was something of an afterthought. 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. Visitors from passive museum audience to active content generator, and stand before it questions. 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