How we impart information and engage with customers – Lessons from Museums

If you are a 20-something or 30-something it is likely that the only time you visit museums and galleries is when your parents or favourite aunt are in town and you need to take them out somewhere.

Dustin Growick and his growing band of collaborators at Museum Hack in New York are intent on changing this, as I found out while presenting at the Museums WA State Conference in Perth recently. We were both presenting under the theme of ‘Engaging Your Community – New Times, New Strategies’. And did he have new strategies!

To get you thinking about how to attract new customers to museums and what the lessons are for your business, here are a few thoughts and examples from Dustin Growick.

“People are consuming information and entertainment differently. Why?”

“Libraries and museums have been great at collecting stuff and waiting for people to come and see it.”

Museum Hack take small groups on guided tours round museums and get them actively involved in discovery. For example, “There are over x number of items on display. Keep your eyes peeled. I want you to find 10 cool things.”

Then, after bringing a few items to life in some section your guide says, “If you haven’t already selected something, you’ve got 5 minutes hypothetically to identify something you would love to steal and tell us why.”

Smart Phones are obligatory as participants are asked to recreate the poses in a work of art or statue and capture these on camera. And of course a fossil hunt and dinosaur selfie are par for the course.

All this active participation is aimed at overcoming museum fatigue in a fun, yet meaningful way. As Justin put it, “We break conventions not rules.”

It’s best explained by viewing an 18-minute TED Talk by his colleague, Museum Hack founder Nick Gray – How I learned to stop hating museums.

Tony Butler, Director of Derby Museum, UK also provided plenty of food for thought in his presentation on re-imagining museums. His main points are included in this 10-minute YouTube address on the Happy Museum Project.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Jurek Leon is a storyteller, speaker and trainer. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly 'Terrific Tips' e-newsletter at Alternatively, email