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Technology in Museums and Art Venues; A British Museum Case Study

Jul 9, 2014 Uncategorised

Combined, museums represent the primary tourist attraction in the UK. The British Museum alone was the UK’s most popular visitor attraction in 2012 – the sixth year running it has been so, with The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva) stating the London venue attracted 5.6 million visitors. So why is it that a visit to a museum or gallery is so popular?

Certainly, the education aspect plays a huge part, with school visits being a common sight in most museums on any day of the week. However, of those who attended a museum or gallery at least once during the past 12 months, ‘general interest in the subject of the museum / collection’ was the most frequently cited reason for attendance (43%) followed by ‘to see an exhibition / display’ (40%) – source DCMS. The top reasons given for visiting museums and galleries are ‘wanting to take the children’ or ‘children asking to go’, this reflects the high proportion of family parties visiting the venues, source – Ipsos MORI.

Museums and art venues bring different things to different people – education, pleasure, inspiration and perspective to name just a few, but a common requirement is to provide a memorable, engaging experience. In an effort to provide this valuable commodity, today’s museums and art galleries have changed considerably from the artefact in a glass case concept or paintings simply hung on a wall. Technology has seen more interaction and engagement in everyday life than ever before and exhibitions and galleries are no exception. In fact, today’s solutions can offer exhibits an unprecedented list of benefits such as digital interaction, information, security, plus a more streamlined and cost effective operation.

UK museums and art venues receive funding from various grants, including sponsorship, Arts Council funding, local government and even the Ministry of Defence for services museums. The Heritage Lottery Fund, the UK’s largest dedicated funder, invests around £375 million in new projects annually and, since 1994, has seen more than £6 billion allocated to over 36,500 cultural projects throughout the UK.

Technology, by its very nature, is forever in a constant flux of development, with a primary purpose of making things more exciting and /or more cost effective. By utilising today’s solutions, museums and art venues can not only enhance their current offering with features and qualities designed to further improve the visitor experience, but can also streamline time-consuming processes, thus saving money while providing a better service. Using future-proof networking hardware provides the flexibility to update or upgrade as demand dictates.

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This white paper was written by Midwich and partially re-published here. Read the full white paper here.

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