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Museums of the Future


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Museums of the Future

  1. 1. MUSEUMS OF THE FUTURE The New School // Market Research for Media Managers // Spring 2012 // Prof. Robert Berkman Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  2. 2. MUSEUMS OF THE FUTURE by Milica Stefancic The New School // Market Research for Media Managers // Spring 2012 // Prof. Robert Berkman Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  3. 3. MARKET RESEARCH: OVERVIEW For my final project I studied the museum industry and discovered a number of challenges museums are facing today. I listened, researched, surveyed and explored different spaces to get a broad sense of where the industry is today and where it is headed. Twitter and Twilert allowed me to follow museum professionals and the general public, as well as to casually listen to conversations under relevant hashtags. Additionally, I gathered information and studied formal reports from a variety of organizations discussing current use of social media and new technologies in the museum setting. I also created a survey that explored the general public’s perception of technology exhibits in museums and read blogs to keep up with latest trends. The following presentation represents my findings. Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  4. 4. MAIN ISSUES FACING MUSEUMS TODAY There is much discourse in the cultural world as to the role of museums today. The definition of a museum’s role affects: >> How they may best reach their audiences >> How best to keep up with the technological change in a meaningful and sustainable way. Market research is increasingly important to help museums develop both a sense of identity as well as to surface real challenges they are facing. Concerns that frequently came up through my research were how to deal with decreased financial resources while maintaining or expanding the cultural offering, a desire to increase attendance, and reaching new audiences beyond the walls of the museum building via social and new technologies. Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  5. 5. ISSUE # 1: DECREASED FUNDING Museums can’t sustain themselves on earned income alone. Government and other funding is decreasing. Museums traditionally act in long-term interests, however are increasingly required to start thinking like businesses. Funders (those that remain) are asking for greater accountability, which can be documented by making sound marketing approaches. SOURCES: – Ruth Rentschler Associate Head of School and Director of the Arts and Entertainment Management program, Deakin University – American Association of Museums, Service Despite Stress: Museum Attendance and Funding in the Year of Recession, 2010 – Bridget McKenzie, The Learning Planet // – Gene R. Laczniak and Patrick A. Murphy Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  6. 6. ONE SOLUTION: FOSTER YOUNG AUDIENCES James Chung, president of market research firm Reach Advisors The audiences to which museums reach out today will be President’s Circle donors tomorrow. Staying relevant to that growing audience while staying true to the museum’s mission is integral to a long-term plan. Young people’s aspiration for the museums’ exhibitions is generally characterized by focus on accessibility, interactivity, variety and especially relevance – both in a societal context and in relation to themselves. DAMVAD Research Firm, Young People and Museums young_people_and_museums_-_executive_summary.pdf Attracting young audiences is crucial for museums’ long terms goals. Research shows that Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  7. 7. ISSUE #2: IS ATTENDANCE UP OR DOWN? There are conflicting reports as to the number of visitors in museums and whether numbers are increasing or decreasing. It seems that there is little standardization concerning metrics for attendance measurement. Certain museums measure outside events they host, or even web traffic or social media engagement, while others only take into account actual visitors who purchase admission. Data released by the National Endowment for the Arts show 23 percent decrease in arts attendance, as well as double digit drops for museums in particular, while the American Association of Museums is showing that 57% or museums reported an increase in total attendance for the same year, 2009. SOURCES – Service Despite Stress: Museum Attendance and Funding in a Year of Recession; A Report from the American Association of Museums (February 2010) Philip M. Katz, Assistant Director for Research – Decline in Museum Attendance, / museum-attendance/17547 Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  8. 8. A SOLUTION: STANDARDIZED ATTENDANCE (AND OTHER) METRICS Museum attendance is a deceptively simple measure..there is no consensus about whom to include in the count. - American Association of Museums Once solution to this issue would be to outline a standardized methodology for all museums to measure attendance. A possible challenge to this is lack of standardization between museums’ physical or virtual offering. Standardization may initially have to include first standardizing the use of online platforms and social media used to reach audiences, before the metrics could be standardized. For example, every museum would need to have a Facebook page, from which they would link to their other online offerings as suggested by Sean Redmond of the museum blog 1. Have a Facebook page, and give it the category “Museum/Art Gallery” 2. Link to all your other online presences in your Page info (like, for instance, The Guggenheim) Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  9. 9. ISSUE #3: REACHING NEW AUDIENCES Technological advancements in the last 10 years are changing culture and ways in which we interact. Below are latest statistics for social media use: FACEBOOK - 850M monthly active - 250M photos uploaded every day - 425M mobile users TWITTER - 465M accounts - 175M tweets a day - 1M accounts are added to Twitter every day LINKEDIN - 2 new members join every second - USA leads membership at 57M, Europe has 34M members - $552M revenue in 2011 YOUTUBE - 3rd most visited site (Alexa) - 2 billion views per day - 44% of YouTube’s users are aged between 12 and 34 INSTAGRAM - 30M users - The release of the Android app version saw 1M downloads in 1 day    PINTEREST - One of the top 10 largest social networks with 11M visits per week - 10.4M registered users SOURCE: ( Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  10. 10. A SOLUTION: SOCIAL AND NEW MEDIA As new media are exactly that – new – many museums are reluctant to spend already scarce resources on new “gimmicky” technologies without being able to demonstrate their success. As a result of museums lacking in an integrated new media approach or strategy, most museums are using new technologies as “additive” elements rather than as replacements for the traditional type of exhibit involving physical objects. This includes, but is not limited to: augmented reality used to enhance an already existing collection or take the experience outside the building, QR codes used for scavenger hunts, RFID tags that personalize the experience, or interactive exhibits that add a game or entertainment element to the exhibit space. Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  11. 11. Social media, however, are readily available and free to use to promote exhibits and engage with users. Museums are already effectively using social media to engage with their audiences; however, lacking a formal strategy, it remains to be seen just how effective this way of communication is for monetizing their efforts. Source: – MuseumAnalytics.Org A SOLUTION: SOCIAL AND NEW MEDIA Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  12. 12. Results of primary research, whose subjects were mainly between the ages of 20-40, indicated interest in the following activities: – Contributing to the exhibit = 33.3% – Collaboration with others = 33.3% – Learn and remember the content = 78.4% – Have a personalized experience = 51.0% – Interact with the scientists or curators 56.9% These results are consistent with the results discovered during secondary research, A number of museums are already implementing these strategies to engage and attract their visitors. Nina Simon, Editor of popular museum blog Museums and Web 2.0 “A successful experience uses social interaction to enhance the individual experience; it gets better the more people use it. The social component is a natural extension of the individual actions.” ‘The value of these applications is often lost under the perception of constant change, privacy concerns and high barriers to entry. You don’t have to be a teenager to ‘get it.’ A SOLUTION: SOCIAL AND NEW MEDIA Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  13. 13. ISSUE # 4: MARKET RESEARCH Traditional ways of evaluating success and metrics are useful, however recent changes from curator-centric to user-centric culture in museums is also requiring a reassessment of market research methodologies museums are using to inform on their programs and exhibits. Museums need to be responsive to changing desires, changing culture and the changing market. Museums would do well to take advantage of what new technologies have to offer in order to gain an immediate understandings of their audiences’ needs. By the time a study is published, it is already out of date. (AAM already experiences this with the Museum Financial Information report—when we trot out three years of carefully analyzed data and the immediate question is, “But what is happening this year? Now things are different!”). – THE CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF MUSEUMS an initiative of the American Association of Museums “While traditional ways of conducting evaluations are necessary and useful” – such as surveys and interviews – “to remain viable, audience research needs to be more strategic, working across the sector in new ways and utilising new methods.” SOURCES – Lynda Kelly, Australian Museum, Head of Audience Research Evaluation, Research and Communities of Practice: Program Evaluation in Museums, 2005 – Center for the Future of Museums in collaboration with The University of Chicago Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  14. 14. A SOLUTION: SEAMLESS AND IMMEDIATE METRICS Audience research reveals the behaviour of ‘grazing’ – or wandering slowly past many artworks, spending only seconds looking at any work in particular. It is relatively rare to watch a visitor spend more than a minute with any individual artwork. – Evaluating the Practical Applications of Eye Tracking in Museums | Technologies such as eye tracking or RFID are useful in tracking visitor movement through the museum space as well as enhancing museum exhibits. RFID, for example, can be (and is being) used to measure visitor path prediction without intrusion. Other options include Bluetooth, Wireless LAN and Indoor Mobile GPS built into smartphones. Most of these technologies allow for sensing, or no disruption of visitor experience. The downside is that these technologies are fairly new and may be expensive to implement. Yet, social media like Twitter and Facebook are also useful yet free tools that allow for strategic listening. Museums need to think deeply about how to best integrate these technologies so that the benefits encompass curatorial requirements as well as those of market research. Tuesday, 13 August, 13
  15. 15. IN CONCLUSION Main issues museums are facing are being addressed through the use of new technologies. Funding in the long term is being influenced by teaching new generations about importance of museums as places that speak to them, in their language and in hopes that this will stimulate attendance now, and funding in the future. Museums are also working on staying or becoming culturally relevant by adding new technologies and interaction to their offering. Museums are also beginning to operate more like businesses and are accordingly working on their “brands”, by stimulating dialogue and engaging users through social media. Although it is still inconclusive as to whether this does or will translate directly into revenue, it is becoming a necessary component of the marketing plan of any successful business. In addition, market research strategies need to be responsive and relevant. By combining new technologies that allow for seamless market research while enhancing curatorial requirements and visitor desires, museums of the future are well-positioned to prosper. Tuesday, 13 August, 13