Source: Museums and Heritage.
Adrian Murphy, Audience Development: Putting visitors at the heart of the museum, Museums+Heritage Advisor, 15 April 2016
Focusing on audiences in museums has moved from being merely a useful tool to becoming a necessity in a time of austerity and competition from an increasing array of visitor attractions. Now understanding visitors and developing those audiences are key elements to ensuring museums and heritage venues are sustainable with a long-term future
A visitor focus is a vital part of the strategic plan of today’s museums: it ensures organisations prosper and means that more and more cultural venues are moving away from focusing entirely on the content of their collections to focusing on the experience of visiting itself. They are spending time and money discovering what makes a good visit for different audiences and using this to shape how they engage visitors in different ways.
The realisation that not all visitors are the same has meant that museums are attempting to define a variety of experiences from a visit to their organisation and cater to the needs and tastes of a diverse audience.
Here we provide three case studies including Bath Museums Partnership where 13 museums have come together to coordinate their offer to visitors, a soon-to-be completed wayfinding project at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to make its offer clearer and more friendly to visitors and a wholesale rebranding strategy at National Galleries Scotland that addresses visitor needs.
We also talk to Colin Mulberg of Colin Mulberg Consulting and produce a video (below) on the breakthroughs and shortfalls in audience development in the sector and publish a blog from Fitzpatrick Woolmer on creating new visitor interpretations.