Timespan
Devon McHugh

By Devon McHugh, Relationships & Partnerships Development Manager, Museums Galleries Scotland

Museums are some of Scotland’s most important and popular visitor attractions: a recent survey found that for nearly half of all visitors to Glasgow, seeing a museum was a primary driver for their trip. Offering a better experience for our visitors, and encouraging these visits to grow, is central to the development work of every museum.

Partnership with Interface, and through them with academics from across Scotland, can help museums to develop and enhance their visitor experience, offer new means of communication, open up opportunities for better understanding audiences, and forge new ways of working together to help show visitors—whether from just next door, or from half-way across the world—everything that Scotland’s museums have to offer.

Recent partnerships between museums and universities, facilitated by Interface, have developed opportunities for museums to use digital technologies to more effectively communicate with their visitors-- both on site and across the globe. The collaboration of Timespan, in Helmsdale, with St Andrews University’s Open Virtual Worlds programme offers an illustration of how fruitful and creative these collaborations can be. Using digital technologies similar to GoogleGlass (but much less expensive!), visitors to Timespan can explore a virtually-reconstructed longhouse, expanding their understanding of life in the past through a combination of immersive technologies and carefully researched historical data. You can read more about it here.

These types of partnerships are still growing, and there is huge potential to work even more closely with researchers and academic experts to continue to develop the relationship between museums and visitors. Understanding our audiences, including their demographic backgrounds, individual experiences, and expectations for their visit, is an important area in which academic expertise is invaluable for museums. Additionally, the rapidly changing worlds of communications and marketing in an increasingly digital and globalised age offers a range of opportunities for future collaboration. As the National Development Body for Scotland’s museums and Galleries, Museums Galleries Scotland is excited to support these types of partnerships in the future, and to offer an ever-improving, exciting, and fun experience for visitors to our museums.

17 March 2016