The long term impact of design on the visitor experience:
examination of a museum project after fourteen years of operatio...
The Bond Store
Wellington Museum City and Sea
11 May 2013

The Times of London published it’s list of the worlds top 50 museums
The Times list of the 50 best museums wa...
THE TIMES OF LONDON

Top 50 World Museums
1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
2. British Museum, London.
3. Acropol...
25. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai.
26. Die Neue Sammlung, Munich.
27. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Mu...
The review
“New Zealand's capital city has a tiny population (smaller than Bristol)
but a great heritage, as this museum p...
The French Second Empire style building 1892
The 1996 Wellington Maritime Museum
The Main Objectives
To develop a museum which had significant appeal to both the local community and
to visitors to Wellin...
Te Papa was being developed at the same time, just 500 metres away
Testing the dark-ride approach
Testing the maritime museum approach
Early planning concepts
If ignored, the building was likely to either be blown over,
collapse in an earthquake
or gradually sink in the harbour
The primary themes
Level 3
Wellington 100 years ago and 1000 years ago

Level 2
Maritime History, the Harbour Board Room a...
ORIENTATION
“when visitors know where they are in a building,
they can better understand their
location within the narrati...
The concept for the central staircase and atrium
The external
access tower
The visitor’s experience must be seen as
a whole or gestalt
(Falk & Dierking 1992)
“exhibition as the stage”
(Schittich 2009)

“Each exhibition is a production, like a theatrical production,
and like a pla...
“the most interesting label ever written might as well not exist
if it is not read by the visitor”
(Bitgood 1994 and 2011)...
The visitor experience
Diagram produced by the Museum in 2008
The vertical film feature
Level one
The recreated Bond Store
Level One
The temporary exhibition space
Level two
Wellington’s Maritime history
Level two
The 1925 Board Room
Level two
Wellington’s Maritime history
Level two
The Wahine Story
Maritime Interactive Zone
Level three
Wellington 100 years ago
Level three
Wellington 100 years ago
Level three
A millennium ago – Creation legends
The storeroom set and ‘stage’
“there was much lower support for the creations legends and
this was potentially influencing the Board’s decision
not to p...
Level three
A MILLENNIUM AGO
“Must be seen to be disbelieved”
Wellington Press December 1999
14 years on
ProDesign Magazine 2001
From the book What is Exhibition Design by
Lorenc, Skolnick and Berger 2007
“I should tell you that in the course of my 'world tour' I visited almost
300 museums, and the Museum of Wellington is in ...
Museum of Wellington City and Sea
Housed in the former Bond Store on Queens Wharf is the recently revitalized
Museum of We...
Internet reviews – 15 May 2013
Tripadvisor –’the world’s Largest Travel Site’
160 reviews
89 Excellent
60 very good
9 aver...
Is technology a prime reason for the museum’s success?
“This is a great place to see the history of Wellington lade out (sic) in a
modern museum with the latest technology and i...
Technology and holograms or simply a Pepper’s ghost
“When people think about the future they often fixate on
technology”
Exhibit Design for the Future, George Jacob 2011
What went right?
Honouring the history of the building ?
The designer(s) as auteur ?
The location – credibility ?
Circulat...
The Bond Store
Wellington Museum City and Sea development team
Principal designers, creative directors and project manager...
What the studies show

52% of visitors are from overseas

62% of visitors went for Wellington’s social History.

Highest o...
How accurate and influential are on line reviews?
Cooperative Research Centre
USER GENERATED CONTENT
The European Travel Commission found that travellers prefer websites like tripadvisor,
which allow ...
“Word of Mouth was found to be seven times more effective
than newspapers and magazines ……..
and twice as effective as rad...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of ...
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Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of operation.

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M&GSQ Networking Event - Presenting About Design
Level 2 Seminar Room, 381 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Wednesday 25 September, 3pm-5pm

Tom Hewitt, Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers (UK) and inductee of Design Institute of Australia’s Designers Hall of Fame 2009 and designer of Museum of Wellington City and Sea in New Zealand, asked the question - ‘is it technology or imagination that injects new life into museums?’

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Tom Hewitt The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: Analysis of a museum project after thirteen years of operation.

  1. 1. The long term impact of design on the visitor experience: examination of a museum project after fourteen years of operation. Tom Hewitt 2013
  2. 2. The Bond Store Wellington Museum City and Sea
  3. 3. 11 May 2013 The Times of London published it’s list of the worlds top 50 museums The Times list of the 50 best museums was compiled with nominations from: Stephen Bayley, cultural critic; Mary Beard, classicist; Rachel Campbell-Johnston, chief art critic, The Times; Richard Holmes, biographer; Lisa Jardine, historian; Dan Snow, historian; Erica Wagner, literary editor, The Times; Marina Warner, author There are 16,000 museums in America, 4000 in the UK and 1400 in Australia and New Zealand
  4. 4. THE TIMES OF LONDON Top 50 World Museums 1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. 2. British Museum, London. 3. Acropolis Museum, Athens. 4. Sir John Soane's Museum, London. 5. American Museum of Natural History, New York. 6. Imperial War Museum. 7. Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul. 8. Palace of Versailles, France. 9. Victoria & Albert Museum, London. 10. National Museum of China, Beijing. 11. Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. 12. Science Museum, London. 13. Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 14. Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Museum, Xian, China. 15. Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons, London. 16. Jewish Museum, Berlin. 17. Canadian Museum of Civilisation, Ottawa. 18. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 19. Neues Museum, Berlin. 20. Centrale Montemartini Museum, Rome. 21. Natural History Museum, London. 22. Museum of the Moving Image, New York. 23. Musée national du Moyen Age, Paris. 24. Museum of Jurassic Technology, Los Angeles
  5. 5. 25. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai. 26. Die Neue Sammlung, Munich. 27. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. 28. Pergamon Museum, Berlin. 29. Museum of Natural History, Vienna. 30. Egyptian Museum, Turin. 31. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, England. 32. Vasa Museum, Stockholm. 33. Bob Marley Museum, Kingston, Jamaica. 34. Australian Museum, Sydney. 35. Museo dell' Automobile, Turin. 36. Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, India. 37. Boerhaave Museum, Netherlands. 38. Luxor Museum, Egypt. 39. Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Turkey. 40. Coleridge Cottage, Somerset, England. 41. Museum of Wellington City & Sea, New Zealand. 42. Robben Island Museum, South Africa. 43. Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Mexico City. 44. Viking Ship Museum, Oslo. 45. Grande Galerie d'evolution, Paris. 46. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York. 47. National Museum of Ireland. 48. River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames. 49. Ghibli Museum, Tokyo. 50. Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville.
  6. 6. The review “New Zealand's capital city has a tiny population (smaller than Bristol) but a great heritage, as this museum proves. Set on three floors, it takes in social and cultural history from early Maori and European settlement through to its maritime past, including a memorial to the 1968 Wahine ferry disaster.” Don't miss A Millennium Ago, a show about Maori creation legends
  7. 7. The French Second Empire style building 1892
  8. 8. The 1996 Wellington Maritime Museum
  9. 9. The Main Objectives To develop a museum which had significant appeal to both the local community and to visitors to Wellington. To produce a museum which, although vastly different to Te Papa, less than 500 metres away, would compete on visitor appreciation terms. To maintain the integrity of the heritage building and create an iconic historic attraction for the City of Wellington.
  10. 10. Te Papa was being developed at the same time, just 500 metres away
  11. 11. Testing the dark-ride approach
  12. 12. Testing the maritime museum approach
  13. 13. Early planning concepts
  14. 14. If ignored, the building was likely to either be blown over, collapse in an earthquake or gradually sink in the harbour
  15. 15. The primary themes Level 3 Wellington 100 years ago and 1000 years ago Level 2 Maritime History, the Harbour Board Room and the Wahine Disaster Level 1 – Entry Reception, Retail, The Bond Store, Temporary Exhibitions
  16. 16. ORIENTATION “when visitors know where they are in a building, they can better understand their location within the narrative presented to them” (Wineman and Peponis 2009)
  17. 17. The concept for the central staircase and atrium
  18. 18. The external access tower
  19. 19. The visitor’s experience must be seen as a whole or gestalt (Falk & Dierking 1992)
  20. 20. “exhibition as the stage” (Schittich 2009) “Each exhibition is a production, like a theatrical production, and like a play, it is a specific work of culture with game rules of its own” (Pearce 1992) “Museums as a form of theatre” (Yellis 2010)
  21. 21. “the most interesting label ever written might as well not exist if it is not read by the visitor” (Bitgood 1994 and 2011). “Museums are not effective or efficient communicators of large amounts of information. People do not read very well standing up….” (Skramstad 1999) . “A Museum is not a book” (Sweeny 1976)
  22. 22. The visitor experience Diagram produced by the Museum in 2008
  23. 23. The vertical film feature
  24. 24. Level one The recreated Bond Store
  25. 25. Level One The temporary exhibition space
  26. 26. Level two Wellington’s Maritime history
  27. 27. Level two The 1925 Board Room
  28. 28. Level two Wellington’s Maritime history
  29. 29. Level two The Wahine Story
  30. 30. Maritime Interactive Zone
  31. 31. Level three Wellington 100 years ago
  32. 32. Level three Wellington 100 years ago
  33. 33. Level three A millennium ago – Creation legends The storeroom set and ‘stage’
  34. 34. “there was much lower support for the creations legends and this was potentially influencing the Board’s decision not to proceed with this feature when money became an issue. I recall you and Michael having to work hard to convince the Board that we needed a feature on each floor to draw visitors to each part of museum”. (Gilberthorpe 30 October 2012)
  35. 35. Level three A MILLENNIUM AGO “Must be seen to be disbelieved” Wellington Press December 1999
  36. 36. 14 years on
  37. 37. ProDesign Magazine 2001
  38. 38. From the book What is Exhibition Design by Lorenc, Skolnick and Berger 2007
  39. 39. “I should tell you that in the course of my 'world tour' I visited almost 300 museums, and the Museum of Wellington is in my top three: I thought it delivered a fantastic experience, with wonderful and extensive content engagingly presented…..” (Loic Tallon, author of Digital Technologies and the museum experience, at the American Museums Association Conference 2008)
  40. 40. Museum of Wellington City and Sea Housed in the former Bond Store on Queens Wharf is the recently revitalized Museum of Wellington City and Sea. Being in such close proximity to Te Papa, you might think its attempt to compete and woo visitors was an exercise in futility, but this museum is actually superb and, in its own way, competes favourably with Te Papa. The multi-levelled design of the interior is modern yet rustic, maintaining the feel of its former function and the modern dose of sensual bombardment it now houses is very powerful. As the name suggests the emphasis is on local history, with a particular maritime bent. Of note is the Wahine Disaster Gallery and the state-of-the-art holographic display on Maori legends. The Wahine was a passenger ferry that came to grief at the harbour entrance in 1968 with the loss of 51 lives. Original film footage set to a highly dramatic score documents the chilling series of events. The 3D and holographic mix of the Maori legend display is simply stunning and is a fantastic example of how technology has injected new life into museums as a whole. Recommended. Darroch Donald Footprint, a guide to New Zealand 2008
  41. 41. Internet reviews – 15 May 2013 Tripadvisor –’the world’s Largest Travel Site’ 160 reviews 89 Excellent 60 very good 9 average 2 poor 39 specifically mention the Wahine exhibit 27 specifically mention the Maori Creation Legends 23 compare the museum favourably with Te Papa
  42. 42. Is technology a prime reason for the museum’s success?
  43. 43. “This is a great place to see the history of Wellington lade out (sic) in a modern museum with the latest technology and its FREE” Visited April 2013
  44. 44. Technology and holograms or simply a Pepper’s ghost
  45. 45. “When people think about the future they often fixate on technology” Exhibit Design for the Future, George Jacob 2011
  46. 46. What went right? Honouring the history of the building ? The designer(s) as auteur ? The location – credibility ? Circulation through the spaces ? The unique high impact features ? Coalescence of entertainment and education ?
  47. 47. The Bond Store Wellington Museum City and Sea development team Principal designers, creative directors and project managers Michael Pender and Tom Hewitt WMT executive officer and project coordinator - John Gilberthorpe Researcher, interpretive writer and editor - Dr Diana Morrow Image researcher - Cathy Marr Maritime themes curator and researcher - Ken Scadden Assistant curator - Stephanie Gibson Display designer - Fiona Young Graphic Designer - Ian Paul Hewitt Art director - Brian Hocking Wahine film director - Gaylene Preston Tall screen film direction and production - Mike Perry and Steve Raines Creation Legend, and Board Room audio production – Mike and Brian Shirley Without the support, enthusiasm and endorsement of the Wellington Museums Trust chaired by firstly Michael Hirschfield and then Sue Driver, and all the Trust members who shared the designers excitement in the project, the end product could have been much more predictable.
  48. 48. What the studies show 52% of visitors are from overseas 62% of visitors went for Wellington’s social History. Highest on the list of enjoyed exhibits were the Wahine gallery and the Millennium Ago gallery. 65% of visitors stay for more than 1 hour. More than 35% have had the museum recommended to them.
  49. 49. How accurate and influential are on line reviews? Cooperative Research Centre
  50. 50. USER GENERATED CONTENT The European Travel Commission found that travellers prefer websites like tripadvisor, which allow for the entering of ratings (up to 5 Stars) rather than general blog comments, and many believe that state tourism websites should incorporate UGC features. Many users are astute enough to see through manipulated or embellished postings and form negative opinions about organisations that tamper with UGC. Users prefer doing it for themselves. Lonely Planet, Tipadvisor and Explore Australia were highly rated as trustworthy. In general people did not trust social networking sites.
  51. 51. “Word of Mouth was found to be seven times more effective than newspapers and magazines …….. and twice as effective as radio advertising.” (Falk and Dierking 1997)

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