Audience Development Case Study: National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

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When you think of incredible museums, what comes to mind? 

At Museum Hack, we love museums that are full of stories and unique interactions, where technology and passion combine to make collections come to life.  But we know that this isn’t limited to just a handful of museums.  In fact, every museum has the potential to become an incredible space full of educational and fun opportunities for visitor engagement.

Our Hackers travel the globe to help museums re-imagine their spaces and the way they engage with audiences.  We know that the key for museums wanting to be at the forefront of innovation is continually finding new ways to connect with their visitors and collections, and our methods seek to provide museum staff with the skills they need to do so.

All hands in for Te Papa!

Recently, our VIP Guide Ethan Angelica traveled to New Zealand to visit the incredible National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (“Te Papa”).  This extremely engaging institution is renowned for being bicultural, scholarly, innovative, and fun.  As innovators constantly looking for new ways to connect with their visitors, they were looking to add to their stores of innovation and visitor engagement. Te Papa asked Museum Hack to provide professional development workshops for their team, focused on how to hack their content, spaces, and overall experience using our unique style.

Designed to spark innovative and creative thinking about how to attract and engage audiences, our workshops gave Te Papa staff a framework for re-imagining their museum’s collections and incorporating Museum Hack techniques in their space.  This included demonstrating and practicing varied levels of intensity and pacing to fight museum fatigue and keep audiences energized throughout their visit.  These methods also enable audiences to become active creators of their museum experiences, inviting them into a VIP experience like no other.

Te Papa staff collaborate during the workshop
Te Papa staff discussing their new ideas for audience engagement.

We also led Te Papa staff in an interactive discussion of our 5 Elements of a Hack method for creating successful object narratives.  This method uses our signature framework for creating successful object narratives, with a focus on revealing the truly “human” and fun elements of a story.  Ethan worked directly with Te Papa staff in experiments that combined their personal passions and storytelling prowess to create new, innovative stories and bring their collections to life.

Throughout the workshop, we also discussed how creating a VIP vibe is a major part of connecting with visitors.  Using our methods for body language, framing, and encouraging visitors to verbalize their thoughts and feelings, we demonstrated how generating a VIP experience is possible during any tour or event — and can lead to increased trust and credibility with visitors.

Te Papa staff loved it!  Check out what Frith Williams, Head of Writing at Te Papa, had to say about our workshops:

Ultimately, we equipped Te Papa staff with new tools and ideas to continue creating innovative, engaging experiences for their visitors.  Now, their staff is finding new ways to combine technology, storytelling, and their personal passions to bring Te Papa’s collections to life.  We can’t wait to go back and see how they’ve implemented our Hack strategies with their amazing collections!

We love working with museums around the world!  Find out about our consulting work with museums, or email us to discuss how we can help your institution develop new audience engagement strategies.

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