Top 10 blockbuster exhibition tips

Terracotta Army of Xian Drents Museum

Before the holidays I went to a presentation about a big blockbuster exhibition “The Terracotta army of Xian. This exhibition took place in the Drents Museum in Assen form the first of February until the end of August 2008. The exhibition was a major success, the Drents Museum normally has an attendance of 100.000 visitors a year. The Terracotta army of Xian pushed the attendance beyond 380.000. Almost four times as much! As you can imagine such a rise in attendance leads lots of practical problems. The marketing director Ellen ter Hofstede told us how she coped with this problems…and gave some very practical tips whenever your museum has a blockbuster exhibition.

Here is the top 10 of blockbuster exhibition tips:

10. Make a face book of all the employees. There was so much extra staff needed, that the regular staff had trouble with keeping up with all the new people.

9. Arrange extra workspace. The Drents museum did not have enough desks, computers and telephones for all the extra staff.

8. Make a separate entrance and exit. With long queues you don’t want to get a traffic jam at your entrance.

7. Don’t offer guided tours. They disturb the crowd that is trying to squeeze itself through the exhibition. The Drents Museum offered introductions in separate rooms. After the introduction the groups where on their own.

6. The queues were at their biggest from 11.00-14.00. Persuade people to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

5. Arrange for umbrella’s/parasol and/or a cover. Visitor who are standing in a queue and get wet or get a sunburn are bad for your image.

4. Don’t let to much people in. Off course there are limitations set by the Fire department, but even with that limitations the Drents Museum suffered from to much CO2 in the air and heat.

3. Make a separate lines for people who have already bought their ticket and one for who have not bought it.

2. Don’t offer audiotours but give away free text guides. Audio tours have the hassle of  taking them out and taking them in

1. Don’t give people in the queue drinks. They have to pee….

Queue Drents Museum, flickr Arie van Tilborg