Blog posts & articles

Imagine a day in a museum

Imagine a day in a museum. Visitors have a range of different experiences. Measured, however, are mostly only visit numbers. How can the value of these experiences be captured for visitors and for wider society?

Imagine a day in a museum. 

People are visiting the latest temporary exhibition and the permanent collection including a new display of contemporary Māori art. Some are joining a curator talk and a group is on a tour run by volunteers. A few families are engrossed in creative activities. 

After enjoying the exhibition, many browse the museum shop and buy mementos, art books, or children’s art materials. They re-energise over a coffee in the café and discuss what they have seen. In the evening, an after-hours event is on, which draws young people into the city centre. They are socialising, enjoying food from local food trucks, and music from a local start-up band. Some join in zine making about youth challenges led by an artist and other activities themed around the new exhibition. 

What gets measured and communicated to funders?

1,200 people visited, 30% were families with children, an amount of retail and café revenue and some donations were made.

An economic impact study might find that the museum attracted a number of visitors from out of town, who booked accommodation and spent in restaurants and shops in the area.

But what else happened? 

1,200 people had an experience. Some people learned something new about their culture, others experienced somebody else’s culture for a time and developed more empathy. Several were inspired to be creative. Many found food for the soul and relaxation in their busy lives. For children, a museum became a space they feel comfortable in. 

People had an opportunity to socialise and chat with others, which made some feel less lonely and improved their mental health. Others recorded their steps walking to and at the museum on their step counter, which contributed to their physical health. Families enjoyed a safe, welcoming and free space outside their home, spent quality time with the kids and inspired them to do something creative. Being at the museum enhanced people’s sense of place and ownership of their community and their city. 

Artists made added income through working with visitors in an art activity, they also got exposure for their art practice. A couple of people found purpose by volunteering and learned new skills that contributed to their life satisfaction or their career. 

Many left happier than when they arrived and have created new memories. For some, these memories might last a lifetime. Wellbeing was generated in many different dimensions – a value far beyond visitor numbers and economic impact.

This is what QWB Lab wants to unlock and maximise.

Blog posts & articles

Imagine a day in a museum

Imagine a day in a museum. Visitors have a range of different experiences. Measured, however, are mostly only visit numbers. How can the value of these experiences be captured for visitors and for wider society?

Imagine a day in a museum. 

People are visiting the latest temporary exhibition and the permanent collection including a new display of contemporary Māori art. Some are joining a curator talk and a group is on a tour run by volunteers. A few families are engrossed in creative activities. 

After enjoying the exhibition, many browse the museum shop and buy mementos, art books, or children’s art materials. They re-energise over a coffee in the café and discuss what they have seen. In the evening, an after-hours event is on, which draws young people into the city centre. They are socialising, enjoying food from local food trucks, and music from a local start-up band. Some join in zine making about youth challenges led by an artist and other activities themed around the new exhibition. 

What gets measured and communicated to funders?

1,200 people visited, 30% were families with children, an amount of retail and café revenue and some donations were made.

An economic impact study might find that the museum attracted a number of visitors from out of town, who booked accommodation and spent in restaurants and shops in the area.

But what else happened? 

1,200 people had an experience. Some people learned something new about their culture, others experienced somebody else’s culture for a time and developed more empathy. Several were inspired to be creative. Many found food for the soul and relaxation in their busy lives. For children, a museum became a space they feel comfortable in. 

People had an opportunity to socialise and chat with others, which made some feel less lonely and improved their mental health. Others recorded their steps walking to and at the museum on their step counter, which contributed to their physical health. Families enjoyed a safe, welcoming and free space outside their home, spent quality time with the kids and inspired them to do something creative. Being at the museum enhanced people’s sense of place and ownership of their community and their city. 

Artists made added income through working with visitors in an art activity, they also got exposure for their art practice. A couple of people found purpose by volunteering and learned new skills that contributed to their life satisfaction or their career. 

Many left happier than when they arrived and have created new memories. For some, these memories might last a lifetime. Wellbeing was generated in many different dimensions – a value far beyond visitor numbers and economic impact.

This is what QWB Lab wants to unlock and maximise.

Christchurch Art Gallery