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Elspeth McEachern

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Elspeth McEachern, Sunshine Coast Council. Applying the Awesome Principle to museums and galleries presentation at Opening Doors: 2019 Museums & Galleries Queensland Conference.

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Elspeth McEachern

  1. 1. Applying the Awesome Principle to Museums and Galleries Elspeth McEachern Senior Cultural Heritage Officer September 2019 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy
  2. 2. Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners 2 I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which this event is being held and pay my respect to Traditional Elders – past, present and emerging. Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy
  3. 3. Session outline 3 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy The session will: • Set the scene • Revisit Kaplan ‘Attention Restoration Theory’ • Check statistics – how Australians spend their leisure time • Discuss ‘The Awesome Principle’ (a phrase coined by me) • Understand how to apply the Awesome Principle - case studies Aspects of psychology and marketing will be also discussed The basis of this talk is this: ‘For every action there is a reaction’ just keep this in mind as we go through this session.
  4. 4. Setting the scene 4 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy A quarter of Australia’s population is experiencing moderate to extremely severe stress (Dec 2018 Stress and Wellbeing Survey - Australian Psychology Society) Reasons for stress (Medibank Survey 2016-2017) • lack of sleep - 62% • work pressure -39% • juggling too many things – 36% • housing affordability – 17% • social media pressures – 12% • global political climate - 11% People can become fatigued when the brain is too focused for too long
  5. 5. Revisiting Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory’ 5 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy • The brain’s action of focusing is called ‘Directed Attention’ • Directed attention is an important part of the brain’s function, but if there is no rest for the brain, it can lead to fatigue • Psychologists Stephen and Rachel Kaplan (1995) looked at experiences that led to the recovery of fatigue and the restoration of the brain. They found… o nature provided true benefits for aiding restoration o that an integrative framework creates the best results
  6. 6. Kaplan’s restorative environments… 6 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy • create a sense of ‘being away’ – frees the mind of old and possibly stressful thoughts • create a ‘whole other world’ - rich and coherent (not endless stream of stimuli that consist of unrelated impressions) • offer sufficient scope to engage the mind and offer enough time to see, experience and think about what is there - called ‘Fascination Attention’ the result of being absorbed in content (soft fascination) • involve the ‘extent of space’ which creates a sense of being in a whole new place – doesn’t have to be large, could be miniature • are compatible between the environment and a person’s purpose for going there. Apply the theory to museums and galleries
  7. 7. 7 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy How Australians spend their time – cumulative number of activities in 12 month period 2016 to 2018 (showing % increase or decrease) • Eating or drinking out – 1,335 million (increase 6.4%) • Playing sport or doing formal exercise – 886 million (increase 1%) • Visiting or hosting family and friends – 835 million (decline 1.3% ) • Playing video, computer games or board games at home – 704 million (increase 6.5%) • Going to the beach – 183 million (decline 3%) • Going to clubs – 118 million (decline 4.8%) • Going to movies - 96 million (increase 1%) • Attending art galleries and museums – 86 million (increase 14.6%) Research by Roy Morgan - https://www.bandt.com.au/marketing/aussies-spend-leisure-time-eating-playing-xbox-apparently From stress and restoration to leisure Setting the scene
  8. 8. 8 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy How do we create a restorative environment that competes with limited leisure time?
  9. 9. 9 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Apply The Awesome Principle
  10. 10. 10 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Aware (of the) Whole Experience (that is) Stimulating Original Meaningful (and) Elevating The Awesome Principle E. McEachern 2019
  11. 11. 11 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Aware - internal and external influences Whole Experience - from start to finish - everything Stimulating - offers ‘soft fascination’, answers a question Original - authentic and lives up to expectation Meaningful - makes sense, easily understood, context Elevating - takes us to another level The Awesome Principle
  12. 12. 12 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Revisiting how people spend their leisure time. What can museum and galleries offer to attract these audiences? Leisure activities increased from 2016 to 2018 What to offer Eating or drinking out Refreshments / café Playing sport or doing formal exercise Participation in an activity Playing video, computer games or board games Interactive technology Going to movies Theatrette – films and documentaries
  13. 13. The key is an integrative approach (putting on the marketing hat) 13 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Everything you do should create new marketing opportunities • Involve new clients (drama groups, musicians, sponsors) • Get the media’s attention – hold a publicity event (enactments, dress-ups, performers) • Keep the place alive - new activities give you new information for promotion on website, social media, fliers, eNews, community announcements, media releases • Participation in events and festivals – piggyback on their promotion (film, music etc) • Regular curated exhibitions – large or small scale (artist corner) changing themes, coinciding with community celebrations The result…new audiences
  14. 14. 14 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Horsham Regional Art Gallery – experience as past Director Expanding exhibition offering – old, new, mixed media, local input (Artist’s Corner), fascination – German heritage, Koori Range of activities - openings, talks, residencies, workshops Venue hire –concerts, conferences, fundraising Aim of events – to get publicity (e.g. Rocky Horror), Philip Quirk exhibition New audiences – Artists Corner, local business sponsorship, fundraising events (e.g. cult film nights) – soft fascination Marketing –regular radio segments, TV, press, newsletters, media, catalogues, posters The Awesome Principle - Galleries
  15. 15. 15 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Caloundra Regional Art Gallery Activities of colleagues at Sunshine Coast Council Programming – mixing and matching experience
  16. 16. 16 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Founders Heritage Park, Nelson City Council, New Zealand – experience as past Coordinator/manager Whole experience – external orientation map New spaces - new tenants and/or exhibitions Inclusion - Jazz Festival, Nelson Arts Festival Increasing venue hire – book fair, antiques event and other roadshows, weddings, conferences, meetings Promotion - green spaces, café, brewery, bakery, cooper, chocolates, artisans Case study – grabbing opportunities – starting with conservation enquiry and finishing with Teddy Bear exhibition (3 months), Teddy Bear Safari competition (2 weeks), Ted’s Talk, publicity - marketing success through creating soft fascination The Awesome Principle - Heritage
  17. 17. 17 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy The Awesome Principle - Case Study Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct
  18. 18. 18 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy
  19. 19. 19 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct – step by step • Developing an Interpretation Plan, undertaking Preservation Needs Assessment, Significance Assessment and Conservation Management Plan • Identifying stages o Preservation Housekeeping – cleaning, identifying essential needs o Conservation – the shed project o Interpretation o Promotion • Taking a broad approach – including and recognition – of First Nations Peoples and role of the Friends of Bankfoot House
  20. 20. 20 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy o Information panels o Films in small theatrette (documentaries) o Interactive model and floor maps o Guided heritage house tours (every 30 minutes) o Self guided tour of precinct (shed, wagon and grounds) o Temporary exhibitions programs and associated public programs o Interactive games o Education program o Events – celebrating community/national occasions o Inclusion in festivals (Horizon Festival) Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct - an integrated approach to visitor experience Applying The Awesome Principle
  21. 21. 21 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Bankfoot House - offering a variety of interactions and experiences Soft fascination – miniaturisation Theatrette showing local heritage documentaries Information – offer meaning and context Soft fascination – interactive maps
  22. 22. Tours – made it easy to understand 22 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy • Use visual clues to tell the story • Keep lines clean, but at the same time, purposeful Authentic place and items Information - context Soft fascination – context
  23. 23. 23 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Bankfoot house - self exploration experience Soft fascination – interactive Authentic – soft fascination – context
  24. 24. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL 24 Enabling visitors to explore – self guided tour
  25. 25. Opportunities to relax, find out more… 25 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Shed exhibition – the film, on loop, outlines the Shed Restoration Project including time-lapse vision https://heritage.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Stories/Bankfoot-House-Stories/Memories- Restored Mary Grigor Centre theatrette – one of the many films on loop tell the stories of Bankfoot House https://heritage.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Stories/Bankfoot-House-Stories/Bankfoot- Mary-Grigor • Tea/coffee • Talks • Films
  26. 26. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL 26 Create a ‘keep-sake’ – returning visitors
  27. 27. 27 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct mixing and matching experience Participation in festivals – Horizon Festival 2019 Hosting talks and events Events Special occasions
  28. 28. 28Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Evaluation analysis of all theories - Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct AWESOME PRINCIPLE Meaning Kaplan Theory Leisure time BANKFOOT HOUSE HERITAGE PRECINCT Aware Understanding influences Restorative Theory Limited time Aware of other activities that compete for time and social pressures Whole Experience Start to finish Compatibility between the environment and person’s purpose Café (increase 6.4%) Signage, orientation, tour schedule, self-exploration, ambience, cleanliness, timing, WiFi, toilets, tea/coffee/water, public programming (inclusion in festivals, events, films, music) Stimulating Fascination Soft Fascination Attention Theory Video, computer games (increase 6.5%) Interactive 3D model and floor maps, changing exhibitions, public programs, (soon VR experience) Original Authentic, unique Extent - space creates sense of being in a whole new place Sport or exercise (increase 1%) Authentic and unique story, heritage tour, self-guided tour, heritage games, kids’ activities, miniature 3D model, interactive maps, views of natural environment Meaningful Context, easily understood, makes sense Rich and coherent, information connects Films (increase 1%) New interpretative panels (context), theatrette (films), guided tours, self-guided brochure Elevating Another level Reflection and recovery Museum gallery (incr 14.6%) Expanded experience – reflection and a keep-sake
  29. 29. 29 “Brilliant display and an incredible history preserved”. “What a treasure!” Evaluation Visitor comments: • Local history celebrated and shared with such pride is lovely to see. • Thank you for preserving for future generations to learn. • Wonderful step back in time. • Very informative and well presented. • Our second visit, everything is much more orderly. • Thanks for the time travel. Graph showing visitor numbers and the outcome since the new exhibitions from October 2018. Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 Total Visitation by Year 2015 - 2016 2016 - 2017 2017 -2018 2018 -2019
  30. 30. Sunshine Coast Cultural Heritage Levy 30 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy The Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct Project was made possible through the following groups: Friends of Bankfoot House Volunteers Consultants Cultural Heritage Services
  31. 31. 31 Our heritage Our stories Cultural Heritage Levy Remember… For every action there is a reaction Thank you

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