How Can Museums Increase Visitor Engagement?
The pandemic has had a significant impact on visitor attendance in museums across the world. Naturally, museums are exploring ways to increase visitor engagement because helping visitors feel more involved is a foundational step for providing a better experience for everyone that steps through the door.
Frederica Wald recognizes that increasing visitor engagement can be easier said than done- but that does not mean that there are not efficient ways that museums can show a commitment to showing visitors how much they matter while building upon their existing community. Here, Freddi includes a few examples of ways that museums can show a commitment to improving visitor engagement.
Maintain an Active Online Presence
Just about every museum out there currently has an online presence, but it is important to remember that this presence needs to be strong to properly increase engagement. One of the most popular ways that museums engage with visitors and potential visitors is through social media, as these accounts can be great ways to post about upcoming events, provide spotlights for the people behind the scenes, and inform visitors on exhibits that are coming to the museum. Being active on online channels also gives museums the ability to get feedback from visitors regarding their processes and what is being displayed. They may also feel as part of a thriving existing community through well maintained online channels as well. Visitors enjoy being a part of the overall experience of the museum and- because visitors make up an important role in these institutions- it is a great idea to keep them involved.
Invest in Staff to Improve Existing Services
A museum’s staff plays an important part in the overall experience from the visitors’ perspective. After all, it can be very difficult to have a great time if you feel as though the environment is negative rather than inviting and accommodating. Great staff starts at the selection process, and museums everywhere are emphasizing the need for employees that are passionate about art and the people that come to visit cultural institutions. Kind, empathic, and capable employees are the backbone of any organization. Frederica Wald also maintains that the training process is important as well. After all, even the best staff can be misguided by a lackluster onboarding process. Always remember that the visitor experience hinges on the types of people that make up the environment, and a commitment to bringing out the best in staff will also be a great step towards improving visitor engagement.
Contribute to an Enhanced Personal Experience
A beautiful aspect of museums is that we can all come to our own conclusions about certain pieces of art. But- on the other hand- this can also lead to experiences at museums that may differ from person to person. For example, if the history of a certain piece of art is crucial for understanding its composition, it may not be as accessible for visitors that are not already aware of the context. Freddi Wald recognizes that our individual takeaways are important, but it is still great idea to help craft personalized experiences that ensure that each visitor has a great time. For example, technological innovations in the museum space have made it possible to better tailor the visiting experience to one’s preferences. As these developments become an even more integral part of the museum experience, we will likely see institutions make interactive and more immersive for guests.
Listen to Visitors!
Naturally, no one will know more about what visitors may want out of a museum experience than the visitors themselves. For this reason, Freddi Wald recommends letting them play some sort of role in the processes that museums facilitate to increase visitor engagement. There are many ways to get feedback from visitors, with one of the most widely used examples being polls crafted to get better insights on their view of the experience. Polls have the bonus of helping interested visitors feel as though they are playing a significant role in bringing about the changes they would like to see. Freddi speaks to how museums everywhere want visitors to feel passionate about art in their own way- and a great way to foster this passion is by showing them that museums are listening.