The 'Museum' Experience

Thursday, October 18 - 12:45pm to 2:00pm


Clark Bernat, Manager, City of Niagara Falls Museums; Martha Barnes, Associate Professor, Recreation and Leisure, Brock University

Download the presentation materials (6.5 MB)

Clark Bernat
Clark Bernat, Manager, City of Niagara Falls Museums
The Museum Experience
The Museum Experience



Session Description

Often we are critical of themed based businesses that use the term 'museum', by definition, we are correct that quite often they are not museums, however, for marketing purposes they have chosen to use this term for their benefit - for profit or maybe for legitimacy, either way, profit driven museums have been a part of the Niagara Falls cultural landscape since 1827. Moreover, visitors tend to heavily support this form of museum experience with attendance numbers often outweighing those seen in public museums.

Based on research being conducted in the summer of 2012, we will provide insight into the visitor and local community habits in the Niagara region and evaluate the 'museum' experience as it relates to three very unique experiences.

Utilizing existing surveys used at other similar visitor based educational institutions, this research will examine what motivates visitors to attend one type of museum over others. Past research has suggested that individuals visit museums for reasons including fulfilling educational interests, being with family, and as a form of escaping routine. Data will be collected in three settings: a private entertainment/themed 'museum' (the Clifton Hill experience), a profit driven but more educationally based museum (i.e. Butterfly Conservatory or Bird Kingdom), and a more traditional community museum. This research will examine both motivation and satisfaction of visitors to these museums.

This research and the presentation will provide our sector with an understanding on visitor choices and decisions for visiting such institutions and provide community museums with a clearer understanding of visitor expectations. Furthermore, insights into how culture tourism fits within an intense popular culture atmosphere and possibly a clearer picture on how best to market ourselves to new audiences who partake in 'museum' experiences but don't visit other cultural venues will be gleaned.

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Return to 2012 Schedule at a Glance.