The modern museum experience isn’t what it used to be. Today’s institutions are driven by interactive, multisensory engagements that encourage visitors to immerse themselves in the exhibitions. And that old “do not touch” policy? Out the window. It’s a whole new ball game, but you don’t have to be an art curator to design these kinds of experiences. Here, six things event marketers can learn from contemporary museum environments.
1. Sensory Experiences Can Be Simple
Although the word “multisensory” tends to conjure up notions of complex, tech-heavy experiences, you can engage consumers just as easily with a low-key sensory engagement. Take a cue from the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., which enhanced its “The Beach” summer installation with a pit of nearly 1 million translucent plastic balls. Attendees of all ages took the opportunity to play inside the installation, and as the sound of their movement mimicked waves crashing on the beach, the sensory experience was further elevated.
2. Measurement Informs Future Experiences
Just like event marketers, museums are eager to create meaningful experiences for attendees, and many rely on data to encourage return visits and improve future trips. Post-visit surveys and motion-tracking technology are two viable ways to track attendee preferences and to enhance future events based on that information.
3. Storytelling Makes it Memorable
Visitors may be on a physical journey at any given museum, but taking them on an emotional journey will be the part of the experience that sticks with them in the long run. Event marketers can implement this approach by incorporating storytelling into their events to give their engagements a sense of purpose and to turn attendees into active participants in the story.
4. Knowing Your Audience is Half the Battle
As experience-driven millennials grow up and have families of their own, museums are keeping pace with the demographic, which now comprises a hefty portion of its visitors, to stay relevant. Institutions like the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry are rethinking their approach to education with more hands-on, interactive learning engagements that appeal to both adults and children. Knowing your audience is half the battle. The other half is implementing experiences that prove as much.
5. The Right Technology Can Enhance the Experience
Implementing technology for technology’s sake isn’t a good practice in any industry—it can even take away from the experience. But plenty of museums are leveraging relevant tech products and services to enhance the visitor journey. The Powerhouse Museum in Australia, for example, has begun to incorporate QR codes into some of its exhibits to provide an additional layer of information without taking away from the design of an exhibition.
6. Virtual Engagements Extend Reach
Sure, on-site attendees are your bread and butter, but connecting with virtual consumers is often a gateway to their in-person attendance somewhere down the line. Take the Guggenheim Museum, which teamed up with Google to create a virtual reality tour of its iconic building. The engagement has allowed the museum to connect with consumers all over the world, and in turn, inspired many of them to pay a real visit.