Case Study: Improving Audience Engagement With The Société Des Musées Du Québec

Taylor Gmahling - Marketing Representative

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Earlier this year, we traveled to Montreal, Canada, to work with the team behind Société des musées du Québec.

The Société des musées du Québec, or SMQ, is a non-profit organization that brings together and represents some 300 museum institutions in Québec, as well as countless museum professionals.

According to SMQ’s article What is a museum, anyway? their 300-ish institutions can be divided into three major categories:

  • Museums: spaces that acquire, conserve, study and display collections. Botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums are also museums, because they have “living collections” that are accessible to the public.
  • Exhibition Centers: spaces focused primarily on producing temporary exhibitions, along with research and educational and cultural activities.
  • Interpretation Sites: spaces devoted to interpreting a theme usually related to history, science, the environment, technology or lifestyles.
Here’s the team rockin’ some A+ polar bear poses at the Sherbrooke Nature Science Museum.

So, why did SMQ call us?

SMQ reached out to Museum Hack’s Museum Consulting team in order to improve their audience engagement strategies.

SMQ is a museum association group, which means people from a variety of institutions attended our workshop in order to learn new engagement techniques to take back to their own institutions.

In order to reach as many of SMQ’s awesome staff as possible we hosted not one, but two simultaneous workshops at two different museums. One was at the Sherbrooke Fine Arts Museum and the other at the Sherbrooke Nature Science Museum.

Museum Hack facilitators Dustin and Zak on site with SMQ

Improve audience engagement with our workshops

The main goal of our two 4.5-hour workshops was to improve overall audience engagement across SMQ’s massive network of cultural institutions.

But, how?

By providing a workshop focused on both:

  • professional development through engagement-based skill building, and
  • reconnecting museum professionals to their institution’s unique collection and mission .

By achieving the above goals, we successfully sparked innovative and creative thinking in each workshop-ee about how they could use their new skills to attract and engage audiences of all ages.

Some of the incredible SMQ collection items.

A step-by-step framework tailored to SQM

We demonstrated the framework by which individual institutions could begin to incorporate our techniques for activity design to activate public engagement.

The techniques discussed included our famous renegade style tours, interactive games, photo challenges, VIP events, and more.

We also taught our workshop-ees tools like our awesome 5 Elements of a Hack Storytelling method!  

During this part of the workshop we encouraged everyone to use the 5 Elements of a Hack storytelling model to rediscover their museums collections from a narrative and deeply personal perspective.

Then we invited the participants to practice their new skills!

It is super important to us that our workshops not only provide helpful tools and new ways of thinking but that the participants also develop the confidence to implement these new methods right away at their institution.

We want the staff to be able take what they’ve learned from us in the workshop and put it into practice with actual visitors immediately!

We love going to other parts of the world and seeing how museums all over the globe are experimenting and finding new ways to interact with their audiences, and with each other. Want to hear more about how we can work with your staff? Drop us a line at [email protected]

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