I love grocery stores – the colors, the flavors, the smells, the choices! I once wrote a college admissions essay about grocery stores, and how much I love them. Who knew that one day I’d be able to translate that love into museums exhibitions!
Grocery stores as exhibitions?! I was recently asked to visit a local store, walk around, and study it’s visual presentation. Layout, design, materials, and organizations were to be analyzed. This exercise was meant to help me learn how supermarkets (and museums) present themselves to users and engage them in non-verbal communication.
What can we, as museum curators, learn from supermarkets? Everything from design and layout to signage and presentation in grocery stores has been analyzed, tested, and perfected. Large companies, like Kroger foods, study their audiences and know how many times you will visit a store in a week (2.2 times on average), what height products need to be at to catch your attention, and how children in your cart affect your purchases. Grocery stores have mastered the art of visitor studies, and museums need to step up! The best way to learn more about your audience is to ask them. Surveys, interviews, and visitor observations are a few ways that some museums are responding to this need. What can your institution do to better connect with your visitors?