Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Visitor mapping

ACMI – located in the heart of Melbourne. Source: ACMI.

Seb Chan, Visitor journey mapping at ACMI, ACMI Labs, 15 December 2015

One of the new pieces of work that has been underway at ACMI recently has been a piece of visitor journey mapping — a tool commonly used in service design.

Like most museums, ACMI has over the years, developed specific workplace practices to overcome or workaround the limitations of architecture, and perhaps the most useful thing about creating a visitor journey map is the teasing out and making legible some of these practices. And, like many other institutions, what a map does is bring together and present a shared knowledge across the various teams involved in delivering the experiences that the visitor has. What might be common knowledge to the front-of-house staff may not be so well understood by others, or not with all its cascading effects.

For example, perhaps a lack of easy to access storage near catering areas may amplify the impact of corporate events on education briefings for school kids attending at the same time. Or maybe a workaround that was made to make online ticketing available in time for a certain exhibition or event, may have incurred a significant technical debt that now makes it much harder to implement other website upgrades.

In order to produce the visitor journey map and report, Kimberley Crofts, Jack Huston and Steve Baty from Meld Studios spent two weeks visiting ACMI as an exhibition goer, a cinema goer, a cafe vistor; observed and interviewed visitors, asking them about how they felt, what they were looking for, what they were attempting to do; and did the same for staff, observing and interviewing them, attempting to understand how they tried to meet the needs of visitors.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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