Audience Research - visitor wants
What do people want from a museum visit?
Visitors have many needs when they visit a museum. Through analysing a number of evaluation studies conducted at the Australian Museum we have found that visitors have a range of wants.
- hands-on (active) experiences
- to be able to use all their senses
- something to take away with them from their visit
- to start from familiar concepts and things and move to unfamiliar
- to control their own experience and amount and depth of information they access
- to cater for all levels of learning, for different age groups and for adults and children
- exhibitions that help them learn something new
- to touch objects and displays
- not too much reading
- computer interactives that enhance the exhibition and are not just 'button-pressing'
- to be able to zoom-in/get up close to objects and displays
- exhibits that are well maintained and working at all times
- staff on the floor to answer questions and bring the exhibition alive
- exhibits that are realistic
- places in exhibitions where they can sit down and 'take it in'
- exhibitions that encourage talking/sharing among the group
In our research with parents we have found that they have specific needs. Given that families make up around 60% of our audience they are a key group that we research. Parents want child appropriate exhibitions which:
- allow children to learn in an enjoyable way;
- provide new experiences, insights;
- complement school-based learning;
- are interactive and allow them to touch and experiment;
- have minimal reading;
- are at an appropriate height;
- provide sufficient installations to avoid queuing;
- cater for a range of ages and abilities; and
- keep parents entertained as well!
Other research reviewed a number of exhibition evaluations to see what information people wanted from the Museum's anthropological and natural history collections and I have blogged about that here.