Not traditionally known for nimbleness, museums are experimenting with big data, business incubators and some helpful, but potentially creepy surveillance strategies to get visitors in the door.
"Museums have a long view in their DNA," said Ford Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), but faced with limited funding and staffing "it is possible to get bogged down in the day-to-day."
Ideas for getting out of the bog are outlined in a new report from the AAM's Center for the Future of Museums, which encourages museums to learn tricks for increasing foot traffic from the likes Toms Shoes, Ben & Jerry's and websites that offer free access in exchange for personal data.
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"The pace of change is increasing rapidly," said Elizabeth Merritt, CFM director and the author of the report. "So we're trying to increase the speed at which museums adopt some of the latest trends."
The Dallas Museum of Art, for example, has significantly increased memberships—and funding—by making admission free.