This questionnaire was administered on 1/10/15 between the hours of 3-5pm and as a random sample should not be regarded as definitive. Speaking to people within the museum itself allowed me to understand my target audience better. Other surveys will undoubtedly refine the figures, but as an initial exercise this proved useful. Some conclusions are below.
56% of the visitors were over fifty years old, which suggests that while fulfilling a useful function as entertainment and education for the older generation, there is an opportunity to target younger visitors. There were slightly more men than women. Various methods of modernisation might be explored as to how to promote more youthful interest [see later.]
It was the first visit for half the visitors, which suggests that the museum has captured interest enough to encourage revisits. Of the remaining half, however, the majority were not inspired enough to want to revisit. 20% of the visits were impromptu. [See later.] Once again, the younger element needs targeting.
Only 16% of the visitors spent more than an hour at the venue. This was useful as an indication of what may be targeted for improvement. While the Heritage in St Petersburg and the Louvre in Paris are so well stocked with material it is not possible for it all to be displayed at any one time, the Maritime Museum is limited in the amount it can offer.
Suggestions submitted by the survey participants addressing this included a reconsideration of the layout and the addition of more “hands-on” features. Other suggested enhancements included the devising of a set route to slow down the visitors and encourage a more immersive experience, addition of olfactory and aural elements, video features, guides and information officers (“talks and discussions from professionals”) and the use of other languages. It was encouraging that many of these issues would be positively addressed by the use of iPad, Facebook or other media involvement, and that 80% of the participants would be prepared to be involved in some measure. It may be advantageous to consider different routes round the museum, targeting different features of maritime life; this could encourage revisiting.
It was felt by some visitors that regular changes to the exhibition might encourage repeat visits, and there was an indication that a cafe, possibly incorporating a lounge, would be an improvement.
Visiting might be improved by better advertising. This could not only be in terms of “Tourist Information” flyers available at targeted spots (other museums, The Deep, etc.) but on-site initiatives (possibly at set times, e.g. on the hour) such as screens attached to the outside of the building giving previews of the content inside, holographic projects of whales and ships
emerging from the floor outside the main entrance and/or a costumed nineteenth century sea captain standing outside performing, or as a photograph opportunity with children against a marketing backdrop for the museum [“Free photograph at the end of the tour.”] This might create much greater appeal, especially to the younger members of the public.