Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Staff time on visitor participation?

We wanted to check in and ask the general museum community how it's going with your visitor contribution exhibits. Things like post-it walls, maps, and other non-digital participatory experiences that require upkeep.

Has it had any impact on staff time? Maintenance? We'd love to hear from you.

Image: National Constitution Center by Gyroscope.


Hillary said...

In two different museums, I've found that the pros outweigh the cons with message boards. at the Natural History Museum in Los angeles, we had a message/photo board with the Dogs exhibit, where people could post photos of their dogs. It increased repeat visitors, as people felt their dog was a part of the exhibit and returned to see if their picture was still there, or sent a friend to see.

At the Long Island Children's Museum, we had an art exhibit where we encouraged people to comment in a bound notebook. That required constant monitoring, since some children were drawn to write things like "F@#K" when no one was watching... BUT the comments about the exhibit were great. I don't necessarily recommend the book format, as if there is a "bad word," the entire page would have to be removed, taking away what might be good and valid comments, or torn, adding to a messy look.

Maria Mortati said...

Hey thanks, Hillary. I love the dogs exhibit concept. That's a fantastic way to get repeat visitation. Do you have any photos of it you could share?

Excellent point about issues with using books as a feedback mechanism. You could cover problems with a giant "oops" sticker, but it does create a look that some museums may not want to have.

I agree that pros definitely outweigh the cons. It's great to hear experiences with managing them. Especially as it becomes a more prevalent exhibit component... or exhibit!