In a blog post earlier this year I reported on a flexible pricing experiment at a German museum: Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst in Bremen tried a “pay-as-you-stay” model, charging 1 Euro per 10 minutes of a visit.
Results exceeded expectations with visit numbers increasing while income remained relatively steady. Their second test round in March was interrupted by Covid-19, so to get a clearer understanding of the effects, they will implement ‘pay as you stay’ again and think it might be a good way to get visitors. “If it proves a feasible pricing model, both financially and with regard to accessibility and visitor satisfaction, we will keep it in place. If not, we’ll be comfortable with this finding, too, and try something else. But try we will.” says Tom Schloessler, managing director of the museum.
Thought-provoking article with a variety of views from international museum directors about measuring the success of museums and why attendance is not enough on in other words.
“…how do you measure ‘quality’ in numbers? It’s much easier to track attendance than to try to answer that question.” (Emilie Gordenker, director The Mauritshuis, the Hague)
Attendance can “act as an ‘index of relevance’, but the numbers should be tempered with a “kind of high-level of responsibility towards … society at large, in saying: ‘Are we doing something together that will make us as a people more intelligent, maybe more tolerant and certainly more visually acute?’” (Richard Armstrong, Director Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation)
“Museums should be ‘of the people and for the people’ by generating debate” (Taco Dibbits, director Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
A more interesting measure … is stickiness: do people want to visit more frequently and spend more time at the museum looking and thinking about art?” (Glenn Lowry, director Museum of Modern Art, New York)
“You can very well as a museum decide you want to attract a different group of visitors, which might lead to a decline in numbers, but that will have achieved the objective that you set. … Attendance on its own is simply too rough a measure to be meaningful.” (Emilie Gordenker, director the Mauritshuis, the Hague)
Museums Aotearoa released a new report that brings together academic research with data collected from New Zealand museums and their visitors to answer the question “What value do museums, art galleries and heritage properties contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand?”.
Drawing on draws on a decade of visitor surveys at New Zealand’s museums and referencing international research, it shows how cultural institutions are making an active contribution to cultural well-being, social cohesion and the economy in addition to their vital role as kaitiaki of knowledge and tāonga.