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Museums and Theme-Parks - A Complex Interaction
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Museums and Theme-Parks - A Complex Interaction


This presentation has been prepared for a capacity building workshop organized by UNESCO for museum professionals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in June 2008

This presentation has been prepared for a capacity building workshop organized by UNESCO for museum professionals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in June 2008

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  • 1. “ Edutainment and Merchandising” Tashkent, Uzbekistan Alessandro Califano Museums and Theme-Parks – A Complex Interaction A Presentation June 12th, 2008
  • 2. “ Edutainment and Merchandising” Museums And Theme-Parks – Museums As Theme-Parks Alessandro Califano UNESCO Training " In Quest for Excellence: Museums Between Local and Global Presence " June 12 – 13, 2008 Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • 3. Museums in an Evolving Setting
    • Edutainment and merchandising: We may like it, or not… but we cannot change it!
    • Theme-parks, Malls, Concept Stores and Museums: where borders fade away
    • Let us examine them more in depth
  • 4. Theme-Parks: an archetypal form
    • Theme-parks are but a specialized form of park
    • Parks, in turns, belong to the archetypal form of “nature under human control”: be it Eden’s Garden, a Renaissance park, a Mogul garden or, simply, a well ordered oasis.
  • 5. Shopping Malls
    • There is much derived from variety theatres in shopping malls:
      • They have something in store for everyone
      • They do not only sell merchandize, but create its setting
      • They renovate, reinterpret or create a part of town anew, as on a theatre’s stage
  • 6. Concept Stores 1/3
    • A brand gets its best interpretation in concept stores, where it can be shown in any setting and style.
    • Sephora concept stores blend minimalism, New Age, and Japanese art together in a unique mixture.
    • A too monothematic approach ( Nike Town , for instance, all dedicated to sports) could however reduce visitors’ interest
  • 7. Concept Stores 2/3
    • Entertainment café chains are similar (Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café, Starbucks or Rainforest Café)
    • The Rainforest Café chain even organizes guided tours for school classes, on ecological and conservation issues… as in a Science Museum
  • 8. Concept Stores 3/3
    • The same trend exists in “theme” hotels: they do not sell you an overnight stay… but an emotion!
    • The use of artefacts (there are REAL Van Goghs, C é zannes, and Pollocks in the 3000 rooms of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas – a place inspired by an Italian village, in city itself all a “theme”)
  • 9. Museums, theme-parks, and shopping
    • Shopping hints to museums, and it hints as well to theme-parks
    • Entertainment, education, leisure-time, communication, media and sports are being blended together
  • 10. Are Museums shopping malls? 1/2
    • Many new museums favour brand definition, circulation of artefacts, and merchandising… a long way from the old “Do Not Touch!” signs
    • Among these are Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum, the new Guggenheim by Gehry in Bilbao, or Meier’s Getty Center in Los Angeles
  • 11. Are Museums shopping malls? 2/2
    • There is some space for organizing new activities. Museums can:
        • Offer consultancy services to interior designers (concept stores, theme-hotels, etc.)
        • Circulate an chosen set of their artefacts to subsidiary locations, and even lent them to public or private spaces (France)
  • 12. Urban Theme-parks
    • Organization of urban space is often widely managed by large multinational companies
    • Their commercial approach is mostly to organize educational initiatives, linking them to a merchandising strategy (for instance: Disney Club )
  • 13. Virtual Reality in theme-parks
    • The visitor is the player in edutainment, even more so with virtual reality
    • This is true in theme-parks (Jurassic Park at L.A.’s Universal Studios, or the Tokyo Dome)
    • … and in museums as well!
  • 14. Theme-parks and Museums: How-tos 1/3
    • Be it a theme-park, be it a concept store, or a museum there will be:
        • A thematic definition
        • A triple mission
        • Five organizational criteria
  • 15. Theme-parks and Museums: How-tos 2/3
    • Once the theme has been defined, the mission becomes:
        • To VISUALIZE the theme
        • To OFFER A THREAD linking the parts together
        • To DEFINE A MEANING for the single events/locations
  • 16. Theme-parks and Museums: How-tos 3/3
    • Important organizational issues are:
        • To organize space sequentially
        • To organize circulation
        • To properly disseminate merchandising
        • To isolate the external area
        • To favour des-orientation of visitors
  • 17. Virtual Worlds – Real Business 1/2
    • Generally the mechanism works like this:
        • A gives something for free to B
        • C pays A for letting B know of a product
        • A gets paid from B , as well, offering paid services (like tutorials, assistance, upgrades, etc.)
  • 18. Virtual Worlds – Real Business 2/2
    • Where high personalization is available, advertising requires a new approach. It no longer shout out its message, but:
      • Invites
      • Must be prevalently on-demand
      • Must be indirect – and favour synergy with other related products/services