How to Give Museum Visitors a Great Experience: 10 Useful Tips
Getting museum visitors in the door is the first step. But once they’re inside, creating an engaging experience is essential in getting them to come back and share the buzz with other people.
No matter how great the artifacts you have, simply putting them on display isn’t enough. Museum visitors want an exciting experience.
And when you give them something memorable, they’ll tell everyone about the experience.
Not sure what to do? Try these ten ideas for giving your museum visitors the best experience possible.
1. Make Everything Accessible
You want to reach the widest audience possible with your museum. Making accessibility a priority ensures that everyone can have a positive museum experience.
Most museums must meet accessibility requirements under the Americans With Disabilities Act. That includes having a handicapped-accessible entrance and accessible routes throughout the museum.
A genuinely inclusive museum environment goes beyond simply giving access to everyone. It’s about making everyone feel welcome and allowing all types of visitors to have the same experience.
Accessibility issues include:
- Displays at a height that kids and people in wheelchairs can see
- Interactive elements that people can use from a seated position
- Audio guides for visual exhibits for those who are blind
- Sign language interpreters for those who are deaf
- Barriers and guardrails that don’t interfere with the view of displays
Consider the specific needs of different groups to create an inclusive design. Working with people with disabilities can give you a firsthand look at what you need to change to make it more accessible.
2. Build Anticipation Online
The visitor experience kicks off before arriving at the museum. Your website sets the stage and builds anticipation for a visit.
Use it to get people excited and help them plan their visit. For example, if your website thoroughly explains the various exhibits and the flow of the museum, visitors know what to expect and can schedule a practical tour.
3. Offer Different Tour Options
A standard museum tour is fine, but offering a few other options may generate more interest. It allows visitors with different interests to get the most out of their experience while focusing on what they want to see.
You might create a different tour for families with young kids to make it more engaging and exciting for youngsters. You might focus specifically on a music and art perspective in a history or science museum. Consider the interests of your typical visitors when creating your tours.
Once you establish the tours, promote them. Some people may not realize you offer different times, so they miss out on those experiences.
4. Use a Wireless Tour System
Effective tours allow participants to hear the information. One way to do that is by using a wireless tour guide system.
Each person on tour wears a wireless headset. The tour guide can relay the information directly to each participant without yelling. This system allows for a better tour experience and minimizes noise to other museum guests who tour independently.
5. Add a Game Component
Create a fun twist to touring the museum with a game component.
Phone apps with different games and virtual reality components are an option. Statistics show that 96% of Americans own a cellphone, and 81% own smartphones. That makes an app an easy choice without needing extra equipment or papers.
If you prefer a traditional option, set up a scavenger hunt or trivia game that visitors can grab at the front desk. It encourages visitors to check out different parts of the museum and allows them to focus on specific displays.
6. Host Special Events
Special events take lots of planning and coordination, but they can give visitors a different experience than a regular museum visit. In addition, it’s an excellent way to encourage locals to return to the museum for another visit.
You might have a holiday event, such as breakfast with Santa or a Valentine’s Day dance. You could have a night at the museum event for kids or families with an overnight option.
7. Create Interactive Displays
Technology improves opportunities for interactive displays through touchscreens, virtual reality, and other experiences. In addition, motion sensors that initiate a video, movement, or sound effects can also improve the interactive experience.
If the budget is limited, you can create interactive exhibits in other ways. Having items visitors can touch or hold is one easy option. Trying to use a tool from a previous period is another example.
8. Encourage Selfies
Social media sharing from visitors is an excellent way to encourage more people to visit. For example, some museums restrict photography, but letting visitors take and share photos, at least in some areas, is a great promotional tool.
Set up displays that make the perfect selfie backdrop. Most people can’t resist a curated selfie spot.
Include the museum’s logo on the selfie display, so it shows in the pictures. Create a hashtag and encourage people to post on social media using that hashtag. Post signs suggesting that people tag your museum on various social media platforms.
All these things let museum visitors have fun while at the facility. They don’t feel like they’re being restricted. They’re also creating free online publicity for you to increase attendance.
9. Make Education Fun
Some visitors are content to read signs by displays. However, offering a fun approach to learning gives others an alternative option.
Workshops and classes are one way to do this. For example, you might have a cooking demonstration based on the period displayed. Kids might create a craft based on the historical period.
10. Create an Immersive Experience
Find ways to make visitors feel like they’re immersed in the culture and period displayed in the museum. Setting the atmosphere engages more than simply walking around and looking at individual displays.
Using props to create a setting related to the display is one option. It makes guests feel like they’re transported to the location.
Sound is another way to create the experience. Play a soundtrack that replicates the sounds you would hear in the specific time or location represented in the artifacts.
Incorporate period or national costumes for museum staff for an additional immersive experience. Use phrases and terms from that period when talking to visitors to create that character persona.
Engage Museum Visitors
Giving your museum visitors a unique and memorable experience is key to getting repeat business and new visitors. Create an engaging, immersive, fun experience to encourage sharing. Then, head over to our archives for more exciting information.