There are approximately 850 million visits each year to American museums, which is more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined (483 million in 2011)!! With this many visits a year it’s no wonder social media, keeping up with exciting and innovative exhibits and staying connected to the consumer is top of mind.
This is a big industry - arts and cultural production constitutes 4.32% of the entire US economy and 4.7 million jobs. Arts and cultural spending has a ripple effect on the overall economy, boosting both commodities and jobs. However, despite the growth in the economy overall, more than two-thirds of museums reported economic stress at their institution in 2012, and only a small (and shrinking) percentage of America’s museums receive federal funding.
Not only that, but what has Curators worrying the most? Millennials!
How do static galleries of canvas and artifact engage a generation raised on the reactive pleasures of right swipes and hyperlinks? How do you sell Goya when “Game of Thrones” is a click away?
Internet technology may present diversions, but on the flip side can also offer new ways of engaging younger visitors. This year many museums will install a new form of Bluetooth technology known as beacons. Patrons who download a smartphone app can be tracked within a few feet as they wander the galleries. These beacons can detect whether they’re standing at a Warhol print or a Cartier-Bresson photograph and, like a digital docent, can ‘beam’ them a rich feed of information about those works, including audio talks, videos and reviews.
So, with the number of astounding visits each year, millennials to appeal to, and shrinking grants, where does a museum go from here?
We think the value is in connecting with the visitor, consumer, donor or constituent by bringing technology into the museum. Staying connected means being innovative and appealing to the art and science community through exhibits, interactive displays, education and content. While at the AAM 2015 conference I’m amazed with the innovation our museum community is thinking about – wearables in museums, interactive and multi-media content, social media, and technology pushing content to mobile devices. It’s very exciting to be a part of this sector today!
At Altus Dynamics we tend to think Museums have great opportunity to streamline the technology they use. CRM tools with a marketing automation platform, and productivity tools like O365 linking to financial reporting and performance. Gaining a 360 degree view of your visitor from when they last visited, to membership details, and any other transactions they’ve made. The right fundraising technology means great growth opportunities to reach donors with success. We think it’s an exciting time to be a museum and with the help of the right technology the sky is the limit!
Curious how our technology has helped other museums grow? Read how the Canadian Museum of History uses our solution.