Shaping Visitor Behaviour

A few weeks ago I visited  casa de Julieta, the fictional home of Romeo and Juliet’s, Juliet. The house which is a massive tourist attraction provides an interesting example in the use of stagecraft as a means to create unique visitor experiences and shape visitor behaviour.

The outside walls of the house and the digital displays mounted on them are covered in graffiti, messages of love, hope and everything in between. Whilst it is strange to see interactive displays scrawled over with permanent marker, it made me question why visitors feel it is appropriate to deface the courtyard area. I guess its a mix of crowd mentality, and a lack of value. The entrance is covered in graffiti, so visitors feel that they are permitted to leave their mark. The court yard area is quite modern, as are the digital displays so visitors do not recognise their value and instead are caught up in the moment, guided by the graffiti from visitors who have been there before them.

The crowd mentality, instantly changes upon entering the actual house. A large sign tells visitors that it is forbidden to leave messages on the walls, strangely this sign is extremely effective. The house unlike the courtyard feels like a traditional museum, with guards watching your every move.

I was fascinated by the immediate and obvious change in visitor behaviour created by the two staged areas. In the courtyards visitors were boisterous, laughing, chatting, leaving love messages, writing on walls. In the house visitors were contemplative and engaged, they were quiet, they walked slowly and purposefully. Casa De Julieta demonstrates very clearly the power of stagecraft in shaping visitor behaviour in museums, galleries and heritage centres.

Text from Romeo and Juliet can be found all around the house

Visitors can send Juliet a love letter by e-mail

Advertisements

‘I felt like I won a Nobel prize!!’

The Void Gallery, Derry~Londonderry is an artist run, internationally significant gallery. Alongside its international exhibition programme the Void has strong local links, and is a gallery very much at the heart of the local community.

When looking at their Facebook page earlier this week I came across these letters of Thanks:

letter of thanks courtesy of the Void Facebook page

The letters provide a valuable insight into what makes a brilliant visitor experience. They also show what visitors (especially children) remember about their gallery visit. Whilst probably structured by a teacher, each letter discusses three areas of the visit with great enthusiasm and individual character.

1. VIEWING: The art in the gallery 

‘I remember looking at the most magnificent picture in the world’

‘The one I like was about the old run down building…yet it was so plain…it told a fascinating story’

‘The exhibitions are breathtaking… they are that good’

2. ENGAGING: Seeing their art on display in ‘a real gallery

‘I saw my picture on the wall I literally went ecstatic. I felt like I won a Nobel Prize’

‘I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked in and saw my own classes pictures and poems stuck up on the wall’

‘I was so proud of myself it was like a life long dream come true’

3. REFLECTING:  With juice and biscuits to finish 

‘The juice was Orange and the biscuits were cookies’

‘Even though I loved the tour I looked forward to the end because the staff gave us orange juice and cookies’

The children remembered in equal portions the art, their art and the juice.

These three elements created an engaging and memorable gallery experience that lead one child to say

‘I’m just literally telling you, this place would blow your socks off’

To see the rest of these letters, or to follow the work of the Void head over to their Facebook Page.