Rachel Mackay was born in Dundee, Scotland. After starting out in museum cafés, she moved to London in 2009 and carved out a career developing and delivering the visitor experience in roles at Madame Tussauds, the Natural History Museum, and Kew Palace. Rachel runs a web resource for museum professionals focused on operations and Visitor Experience planning at therecoveryroomblog.com, for which she was shortlisted for a Museums and Heritage Award in 2021. Today, Rachel is the Head of Hampton Court Palace for Historic Royal Palaces, where she oversees operational and experience delivery for visitors to Henry VIII's iconic pleasure palace.
- Table of Contents
- About the Author
Read an excerpt from the book now!
Visitor Experience has been a long neglected aspect of museum practice, receiving less academic attention than areas such as exhibition design or collections care. Despite this, the quality of the visitor experience is the single biggest factor which will influence visitors returning to your museum, or recommending a visit to friends or family.
It is also the area of museum practice that has undergone the biggest change in the last twenty years. The image of the aged security guard shouting at children to not touch the exhibits has long gone. Now, museum visitors expect teams of friendly, knowledgeable and passionate people ready to engage them with the museum in an interactive and enthusiastic way. Expectations have never been higher, and as they grow, museums must develop the visitor experiences they deliver in order to meet them.
The book discusses the process of delivering a visitor from beginning to end; from opening a new visitor offer and building a team through to future planning and strategies for development. It draws from theories from practitioners and academics, arguing that by examining issues such as motivation and relevance, museum operators can start to truly put themselves in their visitors' shoes and build experiences that are impactful and unforgettable.
Section 1: Creating the Visitor Experience
- 1: Recruiting Your Visitor Experience Team
- 2: Delivering a Great Induction
- 3: Volunteering and the Visitor Experience
- 4: Visitor Journey Mapping
- 5: Ticketing, Capacities and Crowd Management
Section 2: Managing the Visitor Experience
- 6: Operational Procedures
- 7: Performance Management
- 8: Emotion and the Visitor Experience
- 9: Guided Tours
- 10: Crisis Management
Section 3: Developing the Visitor Experience
- 11: Advocating for the Visitor Experience
- 12: Measuring the Visitor Experience
- 13: Creating a Visitor Experience Strategy
- 14: Continuing Development and Engagement
- 15: Innovation and Visitor Experience Teams
- 16: Change Management