Museums vary from one to another. Some value education over conservation. Some value conservation over education. Museums that favor conservation are more inclined to show preserved artifacts and antiques, sparking visitor interest with an accurate portrayal of the past. More educational museums may be more inclined to show videos, introduce guest speakers and include interactive activities. Whichever the focus, museum curators want to make sure that their exhibits are eye-catching.
Museum curators want to know how visitors feel about their experience. Did they want it to end before they reached the end? Did they reach the end wanting more? Were they bored? Were they excited and engaged? It would be extremely time-consuming to invite every single guest to fill out comment cards or surveys and then review them. There is a much easier way to gain insight into visitors’ overall experience.
Installing people counters at the entrance and exit, as well as additional floors and rooms in the museum, will paint an accurate picture for curators. They can determine how many of the visitors who enter actually make it through to the exit. Smaller museums may only need a counter at the entrance and exit, while larger museums can install counters in each room, floor or wing to determine the traffic in each.
By analyzing and comparing the traffic amounts from each people counter, curators can determine the percentage of total traffic for each area or exhibit. In doing so, curators can assess interruptions or complications in the flow of visitors: “traffic jams,” no man’s lands or areas where directions are confusing. They can also determine which areas and exhibits are the most or least popular.
People counters can answer questions like:
• Where are visitors most engaged?
• Where do they lose interest?
• Where do they end their visit?
Send the right messages
Finding the answers to these questions can provide a wealth of knowledge for curators. They can figure out which areas to concentrate their efforts and their budget and which areas need more work. A lack of interest could mean that the mission or message of the museum is not being exhibited in as clear or compelling a way as it could.
Make smart business decisions
It could also help curators to determine the popularity or effectiveness of a travelling or temporary exhibit. If the exhibit does not do well, it could keep them from investing in a similar one in the future. People counters can serve as a potential money-saver in those situations, allowing curators to make more informed business decisions. On the flip side, exhibits that prove to be doing well can be expanded. Curators will be able to make this decision knowing that it will get a good response.
After comparing traffic numbers from each exhibit, museum curators may find that the exhibits or area of the museum that are getting the most footfall are more interactive or hands-on and involve technology. Depending on the size and scope of the museum, curators could use metrics from their people counting system to make a case for an increased budget to incorporate more technology-based exhibits.
The goal of each exhibit is to take the visitor back to a specific place or time period in the past while being both engaging and informative. Traffic insight can help curators effectively carry out that mission. They can provide the public with exhibits and activities that their visitors will find relevant, interesting, engaging or inspiring – while also ensuring that they reflect the mission and message of the museum and contribute to their visitors’ understanding of the past.