Storytelling, engaging human interest in the human stories behind the art and innovations, putting the customer first, and the points I have already mentioned. People love the stories of people. Most art museums only tell you the name of the picture, who painted it, and who donated it, with dates. What were these people like? Why did they do what they did? What can we learn from them? The same goes for scientists and innovators in science museums. Tell us the human stories!
Engage people! I see so many “interactive’ exhibits that are expensive, custom-built, but not much fun. In a museum in England many years ago, one room was just pens and blank post-it notes soliciting comments from visitors on the subject at hand. The walls were covered with thoughts, and everyone stopped to read them. That was true interactivity.
Museums focus too much on fancy buildings and expensive exhibits instead of on what matters – the customer experience. Exhibits are static. Every retailer knows that you have to continually rework your “exhibits” in order to keep customers coming back. A trip to a Target store is more fun than a museum visit for many people. (Look at how many museums open strong but then attendance declines, except for blockbuster exhibits.)
Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!
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