Here's some ways visitors felt welcomed:
- Getting a special peek behind the scenes.
- A tour guide or docent who really engaged and spent time with them.
- A tour guide or staff who really left the visitor alone to explore.
- Knowledgeable docents.
- Front desk people who looked happy to see you, who looked up when you came in.
- Staff who worked to find out your knowledge and interests.
- Labels that worked at many different levels (although in general, welcoming museums are characterized by people, not labels).
- Labels and lighting big enough and bright enough
Over a great dinner in Minneapolis, Susie Wilkening and I had a long conversation about engagement with objects and about whether objects really matter. This story, with the simplest of objects and the most welcoming of museum workers, reinforced for me the power of both people and objects. It's the combination together that makes museums compelling, unique places. What's your welcoming story?