Engaging Audiences Workshop at the Basel Historical Museum

Museum Hack - Renegade Tours

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Basel Historical MuseumLast month, Museum Hack flew over to continental Europe to host a workshop with the Historisches Museum Basel, Switzerland, on using storytelling to create engaging tours. We worked with a variety of museum professionals from the Basel Museum; from tour guides to curators, on how to turn a museum tour into an adventure.
In the workshop, we covered a lot of topics, such as:

  • Why storytelling in the museum is so important in making the collection relatable.
  • 5 things that can make museum tours engaging.
  • How to address and re-engage difficult audiences.
  • Tips on how to “hack” some the Basel Museum’s objects.
  • Why Museum Hack tours have been successful with millennial audiences.

Storytelling in Historical Museums One of the key elements to the workshop was the power of storytelling. In historical museums and houses, audiences can get lost in the array of objects, without making the connection to why particular pieces are important and relatable. But by telling stories that engage the audience, objects can be showcased in a way that fascinates, teaches, and entertains.

Basel galleries

In this workshop, we started by showing the attendees exactly how to “hack” an object by weaving stories that will captivate an audience. Then, we flipped the script, and gave them the opportunity to create a story about an object in the collection. It was enthralling and invigorating for the museum’s team to see their collection in a new way. Here is a testimonial from the workshop:

Quote from the Video:

“It went very well, it was a very nice experience with you guys from Museum Hack. It was inspiring, it was fun, it was just great, and I hope to see you again!” -Rebecca Haeusel, Exhibition Assistance for the Historisches Museum Basel

One of our favorite parts from the workshop was when three separate attendees showed their most treasured pieces from the collection: all which were related to the history of drinking in Basel! From a gold plated coconut cup, automaton drinking games, to a giant wine measure- we learned a lot about the culture and history of Basel in a unconventional and fun way.

Basel gold plated coconut cup
Gold plated coconut cup

Historical houses and museums are awesome, they are the perfect platform to tell in depth stories about the history of a place and people. The more passionately we use them to tell the stories, the more amazing they become. It’s important for the teams in these essential museums to practice the art of storytelling, and to change up the routine to ensure that the collection stays exciting. Doing workshops like these helps teams learn not only new techniques, but also fantastics stories from each other.

Quote from the  Video:

“The best part was the theatrical part, I like that! To work in the museum with a different perspective.” -Andy, Attendee at the Audience Engagement Workshop with Museum Hack in Basel, Switzerland.  

We had a great time discussing storytelling with the Swiss. It was a great opportunity to share ideas with a variety of museum professionals from different backgrounds. Each attendee brought a wealth of knowledge and experience, that created a invigorating learning environment for everyone involved.

Basel Madonna and child

Do you work for a historical house or museum? Would you love to work with us on how to engage audiences through storytelling? Send us an email or read more about our workshops, presentations, and museum consulting work. Subscribe to our mailing list to read more articles like this.

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