Immersive exhibitions on the rise?

At the core of museums are exhibitions and it seems that the way exhibitions are made has not essentially changed in its long history – is now the time to re-imagine exhibition making? 

Van Gogh Alive has toured New Zealand and other countries, advertised as the “most visited multi-sensory experience in the world.” It seems to move the blockbuster idea into a new territory and touches on the (controversial) territory of entertainment and focus on income generation. I haven’t had a chance to see it – has any of you? I’d be interested to hear what you think about it. Are immersive exhibitions on the rise?


Geoffrey Marsh, Director of Theatre and Performance at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London writes about The Rise (and Rise?) of Immersive Exhibitions and how over the last fifteen years the V&A has presented a series of successful exhibitions using sound and vision mixed with rich object displays. The best known was ‘David Bowie is’, which toured in 2013-2018 and was seen by over 2 million visitors.

He has also co-written a longer, illustrated paper about the evolution of immersive exhibitions at the V&A, which reports that they attract more diverse audiences, who may not typically visit museums and galleries. The authors suggest that “it seems likely that public sector and trust funding will be increasingly linked to ‘culture for all’ and immersive exhibitions are a potentially powerful tool to achieve this in what is otherwise quite a bare larder”.

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Author: sabine.doolin

Strategy consultant working with the cultural sector

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