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Life and Death Under the Pharaohs 1998 Evaluation

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 31 Aug 2010

Here's a summary of findings from the Life and Death Under the Pharaohs 1998 exhibition evaluation

Ancient Egyptian mummy in coffin

 © Australian Museum

A total of 299 visitors were surveyed throughout the duration of the exhibition which was held in July-October 1998. Key findings:

  • 51% increase in visitor numbers from 1997 to 1998
  • conversion rate of 72%: proportion of total visitors that went to Pharaohs
  • attracted more Art Gallery visitors in July 1998 than July 1997
  • upward trend in visits to Australian Museum in 1998
  • more Sydney-based people came to Pharaohs
  • 97% came especially to see Pharaohs - because of subject matter
  • more lapsed visitors (visited more than 2 years ago) came to Pharaohs
  • exhibition attracted individualistic, out and about psychographic segment - tend not to be the family psychographic
  • 98% of surveyed visitors had heard of the exhibition prior to coming
  • of Sydney adults, 68% had heard about the exhibition prior
  • television advertising a major way of finding out about the exhibition
  • outdoor advertising (sign/Pharaoh statue) less mentioned than usual
  • lapsed visitors use television as a prompt - key medium for attracting this group
  • advertising spend of $1.98 per visitor
  • 79% of visitors thought exhibition was value for money
  • visitors were able to demonstrate good recall of key themes and were able to articulate what they liked most: mummies were hugely popular aspect of the exhibition; ‘daily life’ as a topic also of high interest

Achievement of objectives
Objective 1: To increase understanding of ancient Egypt as an important historical culture.
Based on visitor responses to the recall question in the survey this objective has been achieved - key interest areas included mystery, romance of subject; interest in the advanced culture and technology of the time; personal interest in ancient history and archaeology, specifically Egypt. There continues to be a big interest in this type of exhibition with 57% of people surveyed coming because of their interest in the subject matter and 97% coming especially to see the exhibition.

Objective 2: To provide an exciting, enjoyable learning experience for a range of visitors.
The exhibition attracted a range of visitors. Overall there seemed to be general satisfaction with the exhibition based on visitor ratings and visitor were able to recall key themes and items that they remembered and liked. From the visitor survey most of the negative comments related to issues of crowding, lighting, queuing and small label text. 73% of visitors surveyed thought that the exhibition met or exceeded their expectations from the advertising they had seen.

Objective 3: To attract visitors to Life and Death under the Pharaohs, and therefore increase new and repeat users of Museum programs overall.
115,686 people visited Pharaohs - a 51% increase in visitor numbers from 1997 to 1998. A general upward trend in visits to Australian Museum in 1998 was shown in an external monitoring report continuing the success of the Spiders! exhibition. More lapsed visitors (visited more than 2 years ago) - 42% came to the exhibition and a different psychographic visited Pharaohs ("individualistic, out and about") compared to January 1998 (Spiders!) which attracted a broader family audience. The exhibition attracted more Art Gallery visitors in July 1998 than July 1997 and more Sydney-based people.