Saturday, September 18, 2010

Making Memorable Visitor Experiences

While reading Falk and Simon's books on identifying and catering to the specific needs of museum visitors, I couldn't help but think how difficult it really is to please visitors. Both Falk and Simon gave different ideas on ways to not only get the visitor involved, but also to get an idea of what kinds of people visit your museum. I think conducting interviews (like the one Falk did at the National Gallery on pages 91-100) is a great way to get an understanding of who comes, but I can say from personal experience that by the time a visitor is approached about taking a survey, they are usually tired, ready to leave and not willing to take those extra few minutes. While I was working at one particular museum as a volunteer/intern, I was assigned to sit at a table during an event and try to get visitors to fill out a survey about their visit. The survey only took about 3-5 minutes... but the more people I asked, the more rejections I got. This particular museum usually takes about 1 1/2 hours to look through, but this particular weekend they were hosting their largest event of the year and we're expecting thousands of people. So between waiting in line for tickets, and then slowly actually getting to see the museum, most visitors were probably staying about 2-3 hours. And of course, don't forget the gift shop with all of the fun souvenirs... and more long lines. I was not counting at the time, but I would say that about every 100 people that I asked about filling out the survey, maybe only 5-10 did it. I think using more creative ways to determine who your audience is and what they like is probably more efficient and even a little more exciting for the visitors than filling out a survey that says what they like/didn't like about their visit!

1 comment:

  1. Good point. I visited a museum yesterday and was asked to take a survey at the end of my trip. With three tired kids, six tired adults, and a birthday girl ready for cake and presents, I had a hard time stopping to share my impressions on a survey. Your challenge: come up with creative ways to get the visitor information you need without employing that end of the day survey. What could you do instead?