In Sydney’s highly competitive leisure, entertainment and cultural landscape, the Australian Museum had to evolve and improve its experience to combat stagnating visitor numbers.
The main challenge for the Australian Museum, as for many museums around the world, was ultimately to become out of sync with people’s busy schedules and general interests.
With this in mind, the Australian Museum recognised the opportunity to bring their stories and collections to life in a new way, stepping up to world-class standards.
The Australian Museum and Frost*collective partnered to develop a strategy and execution plan for delivering a museum experience that deepened visitors’ engagement and diversified audiences, leading to increased visitation and revenue growth.
We started by speaking to people and exploring the reasons why people choose to visit a museum or not, to understand the dynamics of the competitive landscape. As part of this we ran seven focus groups, conducted 125 onsite intercepts, four days of visitor behavioural observations and multiple stakeholder interviews.
“To attract more people, encourage return visitors and create a more engaging, immersive experience, we had to change the perception of the museum. These institutions are not just about reading plaques but more about engaging with the content, sharing experiences together as a family, and so on.”
We then mapped and analysed the current experiences delivered by the Museum for each visitor behavioural mode, highlighting the specific set of expectations, needs and friction points across the different components of the experience: service, digital, information, wayfinding, amenities, retail, and brand expression. This work helped us identify, assess and prioritise the opportunities for improving the current visitor experience.
Lastly, we defined a new set of experience principles to help shift internal and external perceptions, for example, playing a central and active role in the cultural landscape.
We developed a comprehensive Experience Strategy Framework to enable the Museum to align its efforts to specific visitor groups’ needs and define how the Museum could deliver these experiences.
We designed journeys that addressed the different customer needs, such as a set of Museum experiences that align with different user’s time constraints, interests and attention spans.
We also created multi-level narrative journeys for visitors to follow through the exhibitions, contextualising the Museum’s stories for the visitor. Reviewing the exhibition and events strategy was also part of the process of maximising exhibition dynamism and impact for visitors.
Our work provided The Australian Museum with a comprehensive Experience Strategy forming the foundation for the Museum to evolve into a visitor-centric organisation whose approach and perspective deliver a more rewarding experience for visitors.
We delivered a clear roadmap to the type of institution and experience the Museum wants to deliver and be known for in the future. A coherent wayfinding strategy was also developed and now helps the visitors find and navigate the museum easily and intuitively.