Visitor comfort, part 1

By Stephanie Weaver

On Sunday, October 25 WMA held a pre-conference workshop at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts called “Getting Comfortable with Visitor Comfort.” The goal of the workshop was to help participants and the museum assess how the museum’s experience met visitors’ comfort needs, and therefore was an experience they might want to repeat. The facilitators (in alpha order) were Paul Gabriel, Vivian Haga, Beth Katz, Steve Tokar, and myself. We were extremely fortunate to have Kenshi Westover with us, an amazing videographer and editor, as well as Joaquin Ortiz from the museum staff. During the workshop they shot a total of 6 hours of video, which Kenshi is editing down into segments.

This first segment is about entrances and exits. The workshop participants were each given cards with roles to play, and sent out into the museum with very little priming to see how the museum experience worked for them in this role. Roles varied from temporary physical conditions, like pregnancy, to learning differences like dyslexia.

In the video, you’ll see the participants identified by name and then the role they were playing.

6 comments on “Visitor comfort, part 1

  1. Jim Tharp says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the experience of your session. With so many concurrent offerings at the WMA conference it is impossible to take advantage of all that is offered. Your using the WestMuse Blog in this unique and creative way to reach beyond your session time slot is incredibly valuable.

  2. Jim, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. While the workshop and follow-up session truly were a group effort, the product you see here wasn’t possible without a significant investment of time and talent from Kenshi Westover. I’m so grateful to him for his contribution.

  3. David says:

    Hey Stephanie-I wasn’t able to be there for the session but I heard raves about the workshop from folks. What great gift to us to have Kenshi there.

  4. Lynda Kelly says:

    Thanks for this post Stephanie. I used it in a Masterclass on audience development I ran just today as an example of how to do audience research: http://australianmuseum.net.au/blogpost/Audience-Development-Master-Class-2009

  5. Ann Marshall says:

    What an excellent way to get people to see the world through visitors’ eyes. I hope every museum administrator will see this and appreciate the fact that the first impression is set WAY before a visitor enters the galleries. The approach, space and amenities are as important as the content. Thanks so much for posting this footage!

  6. [...] on a variety of program areas across the museum field from collections to education, technology and experiential discussions to important and useful explorations into business and [...]

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