I was recently interviewed by Daniel Grant of the The New York Observer for his article Amenities Galore! Museums Are Upping the Extras But to What End?.
A couple of take aways from the article:
The traditional museum model is more inward-looking, wherein curators and directors decide what they want to work on, raise money for it and then put on an exhibition. Nowadays, institutions “that are more financially viable,” are “thinking in terms of customer service,” said Mark Walhimer, president of the San Francisco consultancy Museum Planning, whose book The Museum Customer Experience (Rowman & Littlefield) will be published in 2017. “Our expectations of going to museums increasingly are like our expectations when going into a Starbucks: We want things to be tailored to our individual likes and interests. We want to be greeted, ‘Hello, Mark, how’s your morning?’”
It is the hope on the part of museums that this effort to make their institutions gathering spots for their communities and to view the population as customers whose needs are to be met will turn casual visitors into members, some of whom may become donors and board members. If the analogy of Starbucks doesn’t appeal to people, Walhimer suggested that museums might become “more like libraries, where you go regularly and not just for events.”
Link to entire article Amenities Galore! Museums Are Upping the Extras But to What End?