Create an Amazing Visitor Experience at Your Museum

Here’s an exercise every museum should do once a year. If I was to ask you to break down a perfect ten experience at your museum, what would it look like? What would the visitor see? With whom would they interact? What would these interactions look like? How long would they stay? How many pictures would they take? What would they post on social media? When other people ask them about the museum, what are their big three talking points? What does a ten experience look like in all of these categories?

Now that you have that information do the same exercise and break down what a 15 experience would look like? Do the exercise as if nothing is off the table. For example, if a 15 experience at your museum includes raving fans jumping up and down and clapping while your visitor comes in the front doors, include that. No judgment at this point and no bad ideas: Artist interactions, exclusive access, beverage options, consider everything. Now do the exercise one more time as a 20. The sky’s the limit. Don’t exclude anything.

So what is the point of this exercise? If we allow ourselves to dream in this manner, it affords us the opportunity to have better conversations concerning what is actually possible to include in our museum experience. If you do the 15 and 20 out of 10 exercises, it allows your group to expand its perception of what’s possible, which often leads to a rethinking of the entire experience. While most of what is discussed will not be possible, you will be surprised by the breakthrough ideas that come out of the exercise. At least one idea that comes out in this exercise will be implemented in your museum in the next 12 months.

Article by Frank Bennett

Writers Note: I did not come up with this exercise, but I do not know who first developed it. There are several interviews in which Airbnb founder, Brian Chesky discussed doing a variation of this exercise with his team, but he also does not claim to be the originator. If someone knows where this originated, please contact me through the website.