Tuesday, September 7, 2010
In my opinion one of the biggest challenges museums face is reading the visitors. Everyone is going to want something different and it is almost impossible to make absolutely everyone happy. Trying to figure out what to do to try and make as many guests as possible is a difficult task as well as trying to figure out how to make an unhappy guest happy. People walk into a museum with preconceived notions. They already have an idea of how they are going to like the museum and the exhibit itself. If they come into it thinking they are going to love the exhibit and museum we as the museum staff and professionals hope that this comes true and they do enjoy their experience. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what they expect out of the museum they just are not happy and there is nothing you can do to change that. As long as everyone on the staff does whatever possible to make sure the visitor has a good experience it is then out of your hands if they don’t have an enjoyable experience. But at the same time how much is too much? If you go above and beyond for one unhappy visitor you are then almost expected to go above and beyond for everyone else. It becomes impossible to completely accommodate every single visitor that walks through the museum doors. But trying to do so is something most museums try extremely hard to do. Coming up with new ideas and new and exciting exhibits are some ways museums go about doing this. Visitor comments are another way museums try to adhere to visitor wants and needs. The idea of having visitors and people outside of the personal help with the ideas and changes that take place in a museum is not a necessarily bad idea but I personally find some problems in this. While I think it is great to have personal input and we as experts should not make them inferior, we do know what is going to be best for the museum and objects. We are also able to determine what may or may not work. So if people are giving their input and the museum does not feel that their input is worthy of being used you make that person unhappy because you did not use their idea. Word of mouth is the strongest form of publicity and advertisement. If someone has a great experience they will tell their friends, if someone has a poor experience they will tell anyone they can. So really the question I am trying to answer as I am sure many others are trying to answer as well is how do you give each museum visitor a great experience without having to go way out of the way to do so? Museum staff, professionals and even volunteers basically need to be ready for anything when it comes to dealing with the public, but really that is true when dealing with the public anywhere.