Marketing the Museum

Marketing the Museum

Marketing the Museum

Marketing the Museum

Synopsis

Marketing the Museum is the ideal guide to the ways in which museums can overcome the numerous hurdles on the route to truly achieving a marketing orientation.The history of the museum is one of shifting purposes and changing ideals and this volume asks if it is possible to define the 'product' which the modern museum can offer. This book explores the crucial question: Are the theories of marketing developed for manufactured goods in any way relevant to the experience of visiting a museum?In covering one of the most highly disputed issues in the field, this book is essential reading for museum professionals, students and anyone who has dealing in the many branches of the heritage industry around the world.

Excerpt

The museum is a complex phenomenon. Its history is one of shifting purposes, juxtaposed with changing ideals. It comes in various styles and types, and is governed by innumerable organisations and people. Its intentions are not precise, and its meaning to the public is undefined. A museum is full of contradictions; no two museums are the same. It has been compartmentalised into subject types and organisational structures, but no labels can make an entity out of disparate parts. There is no common understanding of a museum. Definitions are mooted, but debates on the principles of museums continue unabated. The roles assumed by museums are as uncertain and unqualified as the definition of a museum. All that is agreed to constitute a museum is a collection, although even this assumption has recently been called into question. Beyond the collection lies uncertainty. A museum is any number of permutations of collection. It can be an art gallery, a science museum, or in some cases, a railway. What do all these collections have in common that endows them with the title ‘museum’? Are these agglomerations of artefacts and relics the detritus of a bygone age? What constitutes a museum?

The organisational and staffing structure is equally diverse. A small, volunteer-run museum is as entitled to call itself a ‘museum’ as a large, civil service-staffed national museum. A museum that is open by appointment is comparable to a museum that actively encourages access. A museum that maintains an education service has the same generic title as that which operates train rides. The public attracted may vary from specialists and academics to tourists and children. How are these anomalies reconciled in the generic term ‘museum’? Can the category be defined if it is composed of disparate and often conflicting meanings and functions?

Marketing is equally uncertain of its credentials. There is no one definition of marketing: its concepts being slotted in to comply with the requirements of differing situations. One concept that does reconcile the various definitions is the notion of the customer. Without people, there would be no rationale for marketing. Marketing is a process that brings together an organisation and people, whether it be for profit, to satisfy their needs or wants, to increase visitor figures, etc. Working on that basis then, marketing at its lowest common denominator is about building up a relationship between the museum and the

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