What are digital museum exhibit strategies, and how can they increase footfall and repeat attendance?
Museums today are quite different to the passive collections of exhibits in existence years ago. Today visitors expect an interactive journey that encourages and rewards participation and engagement. With digital museum exhibit strategies in place that take into account factors such as experiential technology, social media and collection digitisation, your museum has the opportunity to increase footfall and repeat attendance.
Digital museum exhibit strategies
Museums are no longer staid, static environments. They are dynamic and innovative, filled with interactive exhibits and constantly changing exhibitions that aim to interpret collections in new and exciting ways. Why visit a museum? One compelling reason is that they offer unique digital learning experiences that engage visitors and are not available elsewhere. Digital media can be integrated into the museum environment in a consistent way to enhance interpretation and understanding of museum exhibits and also promote the collections in a wider context so that visitors come away inspired and wanting to learn more.
Interactive, multi-touch gallery applications allow visitors to browse and zoom in on images, videos and interpretation on touchscreen devices. Experiential audio-visual technology has the capability to really bring displays to life and wow your audiences so that they will be encouraged to return and also promote the museum to others.
Social media, website and blogs
Social media, blog posts and a strong online presence should be incorporated into digital museum exhibit strategies to promote collections and can be embedded in the museum experience to encourage interaction and increase footfall. Digital museum exhibit strategies such as encouraging visitors to take and tweet selfies of themselves all encourage participation and engagement with your collections and organisation. At the same time, your museum may consider re-evaluating its website to provide a web presence that is user-friendly and inspiring, which tells the stories of your collections and behind-the-scenes work as well as keeping audiences up-to-date with current events and exhibitions to encourage repeat attendance.
Over the last two decades there has been an enormous push towards digitising museum collections or specific parts of collections. The sheer number of artefacts in museums is huge so work is often carried out in stages and necessitates innovation when it comes to workflows and partnerships. As digitisation has evolved so speed has improved dramatically and the cost has gone down – “rapid capture” processes using conveyor belts and custom-designed imaging software mean that teams can digitise 3,500 sheets a day at less than $1 a sheet.
The digitisation movement is aimed towards capturing, storing and opening up collections. And it’s not just about access – museums also needs to be able to interpret collections in user-friendly ways and to integrate them creatively into exhibitions. But digitising collections and making them available online to increase footfall may seem counter-intuitive – if people can access the collections online why bother visiting the museum? There are many reasons this is not the case.
Most museums have not accessed their entire collection so the digitised collection is merely a taster of what is available. And though digitisation is a great way to open up collections for public access and 3D scans can show objects in intricate detail there is often no substitute for viewing the actual exhibit. Also, while online access also provides digital viewers with details on the exhibit, time and resources often mean that there is not the same capability to interpret the collections online as there is within the museum space.
So digitisation can act as a tool to encourage people to visit your museum rather than replace the need or desire for this. Digitised objects can themselves also be used in exhibitions where original objects are not able to be displayed, perhaps due to conservation or other reasons. And multi-touch gallery applications within the museum can bring content, including digitised objects, videos and other interpretation, together to create themed digital galleries.
Access to and interaction with collections empowers your audience. Many museums allow reuse of images for non-commercial use and this encourages audiences to interact with and learn about the collections. Crowd-sourcing initiatives are a solution to the manpower problem that many museums face when it comes to tagging and researching collections, and initiatives like this also give the public a stake in improving and enhancing museum collections, promoting interest and potentially increasing footfall and museum attendance.
LamasaTech are specialists in touch screen technology and digital displays and can help you to connect with your audience in an interactive and creative way. If you want to find out more about how digital museum exhibit strategies can help your museum to increase footfall and repeat attendance then contact one of LamasaTech’s expert team for a consultation today.