Museums are one of the most sought after tourist spots. People visit them for various purposes such as gathering information, research, and entertainment. And you definitely look for ideas to make museums interactive.
Every artifact in the museum has information attached to it. For example—biography, historical facts, geographical details, and artist details.
And museum administrations need to make sure that they provide all the information on every artifact.
And you want to know the best possible ways to provide this information to your visitors. You do not only want them to get all that they’re looking for but also have a worthwhile experience. So how do you achieve it?
Here is an exhaustive list of ideas to make museums interactive and engaging for the visitors:
A. Print it near the artifact
You’ve been to museums, right? What is the most common way museums use to provide information on an artifact? Yes, it is print media.
This is a conventional and useful way to provide information to the visitors. All that you need to do is—print the required information is printed on a metal plate or marble near the artifact.
However, this approach has its own drawbacks.
First, this method allows you to add only limited details. And the reason is obvious—printing space. The limited printing space on a metal or marble plate requires you to be selective. So you can add only limited details.
Plus, the font size may act as an impediment. For example, old aged people generally require big font size to read details. So you cannot customize the font size according to each age group.
Another drawback is the language. How? Well, museums attract visitors from all across the globe. While locals might understand the printed language, all the visitors may not understand the language being used.
B. Use booklets to add details
To tackle the problem of limited printing space, you can use booklets. It is in fact, a better way to provide in-depth information in a museum.
Booklets act as a printed guide for the visitor. It is an idea to make museums interactive by providing artifacts details.
They may also contain interviews, conversations or remarks of various artists whose artifacts are displayed.
You can even use them to state the code of conduct and decorum of the museum.
These booklets can also be customized by adding colors and images.
But here’s the thing—people have varied choices. While some of them might prefer text-based content, others might want multimedia-based content. What would you then do?
C. Give them multimedia-based content
Just like print, multimedia-based content such as audio files can provide detailed artifact information. And many museums are doing them already.
They use audio clips that contain commentary on the artifacts showcased. It could be history, background, and geographical details.
Visitors use handheld devices to listen to the audio clips. That is—they access them on smartphones and cell phones using headphones.
Many-a-times, these clips also include original files such as music or interview of the artist.
Visitors can simply rent these clips to access the information. But the only problem is—visitors need to carry bulky set-up to listen to the audio files. And even museum administrations need to make arrangements for maintenance, and repair of audio clips.
D. Interactive human guides
You are definitely aware of human guides and might have even hired one. A guide leads individuals or a group of people across various sites in the museum.
They are one of the best ways to convey significant information. They do not only provide the required information to visitors, but also address their questions to clear doubts. And since this process involves a human, it has emotions, energy, and enthusiasm.
Many museums mandate the use of guides. While for others, it is flexible. Many times, peer educators may also guide you through the museum.
However, hiring a guide is a task in itself. This is because the whole visitor experience here depends on the guide. While many of them are good at their job, there can still be some who do not know where to start and stop. Or the ones who do not allow visitors’ active participation.
E. Organize some fun activities and games
Providing plain information can be monotonous and difficult to engage with. And fun activities can help blend knowledge with amusement.
For example, you can organize quiz competitions on the artifacts in your museum. It will help visitors gather information in an interactive manner.
Many museums are already using photo cards, sayings or newspaper clipping. Visitors use them as a stimulus to make associations with what they see at the heritage site.
Sometimes it may provide surprising insights of what people may come up with.
F. Tell them a story
Everybody loves listening to stories, right? So why not engage your visitors with storytelling sessions?
For example, you can tell anecdotes about the origin of a particular artifact. Or an uncanny element it. This will engage your visitors emotionally.
You can either read the story aloud or take theatrical assistance. Or you can also ask visitors to end the story themselves. How? By asking questions such as—What would have happened next?
Storytelling sessions leave a lasting impression. It is impactful as it involves emotions.
But make sure you get an awesome storyteller to do the task. Because that’s what you’ll need to create and maintain the whole vibe.
G. Powerful Presentations
Presentations are an effective tool to engage visitors. They often use multimedia elements that keep the visitors hooked.
Many museums have a designed space where they can screen presentations. It can be a lecture, a normal discussion, or an interactive session.
Presentations supported by visual elements are the most impactful—people always prefer visuals over texts.
You can filter the presentations according to different age groups. For example, an animated show for children will definitely captivate them.
This method is enriching. And can address lots of people simultaneously in a hall.
H. Amuse them with shows
Theatres have always been a great point of amusement. And using them in museums will positively be a treat for your visitors.
You can use various theatrical forms to convey a message. How?
By organizing a zealous dance performance to state a tradition. Or a dialogue between a hand puppet and a museum docent about a particular artifact.
You can also creatively use the technique of role play wherein you ask visitors to play roles. And as they do it, they’ll immerse themselves in a particular character. This will bring up active participation from both ends.
For example, the Science Museum in London conducts ‘cockroach tours’. Here, children are dressed as cockroaches and all experiences are relayed from a cockroach’s point of view.
Such activities will be especially fascination for children. They’ll not only get to enjoy the show but will also learn in a fun way.
I. Self-help way for visitors
Forget tourist guides, audio clips or presentations. Visitors can help themselves in gathering all the information they want.
Yes, you heard it right!
This can be achieved through learning by doing sessions. Visitors can touch or experiment with a particular object.
For example, give them access to wear a particular helmet. Or hold a paleolithic sword. This will help them make significant insights about a particular artifact.
You can even encourage art and craft sessions or puzzles. Sessions like drawing, filming, digital image processing or photography (of course only if it’s allowed inside the museum).
J. Use technology
People love using their smartphones. And if you make them use it inside the museum, you can make their experience even better. How?
Well, using QR Codes. You know what QR Codes are, right? They are advanced level barcodes that can store a lot of information.
You might think—QR Codes are using in promotions or to make payments, Or to track inventory. Can they be used in museums too?
Yes. In fact, many museums across the globe are using them for enhanced visitor experience already. Here are some benefits:
1. With a QR Code, you can store text, images, graphics and even videos. You can give detailed information without worrying about the limited space.
2. You can organise games like Scavenger Hunt.
3. You can create a customized landing page. You can add images formatted text. This way you can keep check of font size and visibility.
4. Since QR Codes mostly contain web content, the language issue is just scrapped. As the visitor accesses the content, Google Chrome will change to the language required.
Create Rich text QR Codes for your museum. And make them the point of interest.
Though QR Codes solve a lot of problems, but here is a crunch!
QR Codes scannability needs to be checked first on standard signs/ placards. Care should be taken that QR Code is not tampered.
So, here was a rigorous list of methods you can use to engage your audience. Follow them exhaustively to provide your visitors a memorable visit.