Lund, Sweden. Museums are focusing audience engagement strategies on digitisation of the collection, social media and informative websites to deliver public value and educational opportunities, according to new research conducted by Axiell, the leading provider of collections management software for archives, libraries and museums. The survey, carried out in cooperation with Museums and the Web, focused on 71 senior leaders, strategy consultants, curators and employees from museums worldwide, also shows many are using smartphones and tablets to engage visitors and provide educational opportunities.
"This kind of research is important for the museum community to do and we are hopeful that museums will use these results to inform their practice. We plan to collect additional data annually so that we can start tracking trends in the field."
The new research shows that more than half (53%) of museums are actively investing in engagement strategies. Museums today need to fulfil their mission and creating a sustainable future, which means that they must take care of their core assets, the collection, and also invest in strategy and leveraging technology to reach the connected consumer.
The key priorities for audience engagement include providing educational opportunities, cited by 86% of survey respondents, followed by making information on activities and programmes available online (65.7%), enhancing the visitor experience via mobile services (50%), reaching diverse audiences (61.4%), making the museum accessible (64.2%) and creating quality cross-platform experiences (40%).
The highest priority areas in terms of investment include marketing, online platforms and communication strategies, cited by 54%, with 44% investing in digitising their collections. Digitisation of the collection can aid the museum in receiving donations, since making the collection public is closely tied to educational and research goals. Currently only one in five museums has digitised more than 50% of its collection.
The research also reveals clear signs that the museum market is growing and engagement is on the rise, with 48.5% of museums seeing an increase in physical visits, 50% in website visits and 82.3% in activities on social media sites.
Museums are also leveraging on technologies such as smartphones and tablets, with 33% citing that visitors can use their own devices to access a complete guide of the museum and almost 40% increasing their investment to do the same. Only a quarter of respondents said that they have not yet started to use mobile devices.
When asked more specifically about their audience engagement and development strategies, at least half of museums confirmed the following to be a core part of their approach:
- Metadata standards for online collections
- Digital asset management
- Digitising standards and planning
- Curriculum and other standards for education content
- Accessibility standards and inclusive design
John Doolan, CEO of Archives, Libraries and Museums at Axiell, said: "Digitising information is exactly what museums need to be doing to ensures that they can bring their collections to life. For many of our customers, tying together objects from archives, libraries and museums ensure a completeness for educational and research purposes that is invaluable to society. At Axiell, it is our vision to bring large research institutions to children so they can benefit in their education by accessing the world's the cultural heritage."
Also commenting on the report, Rich Cherry, Deputy Director of the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, said: "This kind of research is important for the museum community to do and we are hopeful that museums will use these results to inform their practice. We plan to collect additional data annually so that we can start tracking trends in the field."
The results will be presented and discussed at the Museums and the Web's North American conference in Los Angeles in April 2016.
Please contact Axiell's sales team on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or visit alm.axiell.com to view an infographic of the results.
Axiell serves libraries, schools, archives, museums and authorities with technically advanced and innovative solutions developed in close cooperation with its customers. More than 1000 library organizations with thousands of branches use an Axiell library management system and Axiell Arena, a tool for the virtual library. The systems for archives, libraries and museums, are used by over 3000 cultural institutions over the world. In addition, more than 3000 schools use an Axiell system. The Axiell Group, headquartered in Lund, has more than 280 employees based out of 18 offices in Sweden, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. Together, we form one of the world's largest companies in these sectors. To find out more about us and our products, please visit alm.axiell.com
About the Museums and the Web
Museums and the Web is the largest international conference devoted to art, science, and natural and cultural heritage content in the digital realm. Since 1997 it has been designed by and for museum professionals to feature the best digital work from around the world and highlight the use of new technologies in the museum context. Each year the conference attracts more than 700 museum professionals from more than 40 countries.
Museums and the Web in the US has built an enduring community of museum technology practitioners that learns together and works together on numerous collaborations. All of the conference papers are freely available on the conference website as part of the Museums and the Web archives, which now contains 17 years of proceedings and represents one of the largest and most-referenced resources on technology practice in the cultural sector.
Sessions, proceedings, and papers are reviewed by the program committee, which consists of prominent museum professional leaders from around the world and co-chaired by Nancy Proctor, Deputy Director of Digital Experience and Communications at The Baltimore Museum of Art, and Rich Cherry, Deputy Director of the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.