This Wallace-commissioned report, the last in a series of three, describes how museums can attract large numbers of visitors without compromising quality. Achieving that goal, according to the report, requires museums to think about the needs and interests of the people they want to serve with the same level of intensity they bring to the stewardship of their collections.
To create positive experiences for both first-timers and repeat visitors—inspiring them to return time and time again—museums have taken several steps. For one, because people learn in a variety of ways, the organizations are reinterpreting their collections as well as planning new exhibitions and programs to offer a more meaningful experience for traditional visitors and new audiences alike. But they’re also involving everyone in the museum—from the marketing and public relations departments to admissions, coat check and security staff members—in audience-building efforts.
Museums have reorganized operations, created new departments, upgraded ticket and admission services, and improved training and compensation for staff members who perform these duties. Some have even started evaluating employees on their visitor-service skills and tying salary increases to participation in customer-service training. What’s more, enhancing services for visitors and the quality of their experience also has figured prominently in plans for capital improvement projects.