Our second learning offers insights pertinent to the different ways museums can use to encourage visitation. It is consistent with our April 2020 qualitative study*, involving differences between museum visitors and those reluctant / avoidant towards museum visiting*. The social media analysis (via PaloPro) that followed,and focused in Greece, with main query the “museum”, unveiled that there are multiple ways to attract people to museums that go beyond their educational / learning benefits. Our search was confined within the last six months of 2019 (1st July – 31st December). Our main concern was that, after that, the pandemic effect would confound with “noise” our findings. The “listening” included news, forums, blogs, Twitter, You Tube, Facebook and Instagram (for the last two, only public pages).
Learning #2: Museum visiting is good for you!
Besides the obvious benefits of a museum visit, there is research evidence that the specific activity can be beneficial in many other ways, especially associated with a general well-being. Such information did appear in our search and indicates one more lever to invite, reinforce and support museum visiting.
“Regular visits in art galleries, museums, theatre, opera, concerts and other places of cultural events are associated with longer years of life, according to a British scientific research.” (Twitter & News – https://www.greekaffair.news/ereyna-pos-i-enascholisi-me-tis-politistikes-drastiriotites-meta-ta-50-voitha-stin-ygeia/ – 28/12)
“A visit to museum: benefits for children and the best children’s museums.” (Twitter & News https://www.shape.gr/egkimosini/mama–paidi/episkepsi–sto–mouseio–ti–kerdizei–to–paidi–apo–afti–ti–volta–kai–ta–kalytera–mouseia–gia–paidia/ – 15/11)
“Why a visit to a museum equals with an intense gym training.” (Facebook & News https://www.womantoc.gr/wellness/article/giati–i–episkepsi–se–ena–mouseio–texnis–isodynamei–me–mia–dynati–proponisi–sto–gymnastirio – 17/8)
Such “catchy” and inclusive trends can be widely used to ignite long-dormant and non-visitors. Our research findings (April, 2020), showed that reluctant and avoidant museum visitors, and especially those that find museums too sophisticated and too educationally focused, can be motivated by alternative reasons to visit. Of course, such reasons need to be smartly presented to them, possibly associated with other activities that they already engage in and should be communicated in media relevant to them.
Once more, such learnings demonstrate that , when the pandemic is over and museums will open again for visitors, there may be a great opportunity for engaging more actively into visitor studies identifying drivers towards museums and exploring the power of different ideas to motivate more people to visit museums more.
*The Report on the findings of our April 2020 Study “A Study for the Museums” is available upon request