Museums gadgets and the importance of communication with visitors


Museums gadgets and communication. Which is relationship among these three words?
Before answering this question, I want to tell you what happened to me when I was asked: how should a museum communicate today?
One day I was asked this question, and I answered by talking about social media and how a museum today has a lot of new instruments to communicate quickly with different types of visitors.
The following day I entered a museum, and when I arrived at the bookshop I found neither a pencil displaying the museum’s logo. In that moment I thought again about the question I was asked the previous day, and that a good museum communication consists also of gadgets and not only of posts to be published on social media.

A good museum, which wants to communicate effectively with visitors, is recognizable also by items for sale at the bookshop.
In this post you’ll find three reasons why museums gadgets can improve museum communication.

Museums gadgets and the pleasure of taking home a piece of a museum

A good museum visit always ends with a visit to the bookshop, the last room you always find in every museum, where there are not only books and that, as far as I’m concerned, can arouse my enthusiasm for the museum I’ve just visited or where my desire to take home a gadget can fade.

A good museum is recognizable also by its bookshop.
What makes the visitor experience unforgettable is not only planning the visit, booking the tickets, the guided tour, the educational offer for children and teenagers, the quality of exhibition tour. Even the bookshop is an integral part of the visit, and if museums gadgets are unappealing or you can buy them anywhere, that is to say in any souvenir shop near the museum, the magic of the visit fades.


I belong to that category of visitors that would buy only a type of museums gadgets, that is to say those small notebook featuring the museum’s logo in order to build up, over the time, a collection that reminds me all museums I visited but also the exhibitions held there.

Each museum should dedicate a section of the bookshop to customized museums gadgets, that is to say a line of notebooks, pens, and items featuring the museum’s name or logo or the image of a work of art.
This way the museum can create not only a series of unique customized gadgets but also limited editions linked to an exhibition.
If it was that in all museums I visit, I could easily complete my collection of notebooks, with all types linked not only to a permanent collection but to events as well. Because I visit a beautiful museum with pleasure many times if it is able to give me a good reason to come back.

Bookshop is an integral part of the visit, and if on the one hand the museum is so good to arrange exhibitions and events and give visitors always a good reason to come back to admire the works on display, on the other hand the area dedicated to gadgets must be always able to surprise visitors with some novelties.


Did you buy a gadget for yourself or for a friend the last time you visited a museum?
In most cases I do both things, one gadget for me and one for a friend of mine or my daughters.

Each museum should think of all kinds of visitors when it decides to create items for its bookshop. In fact, there are visitors but also those who haven’t visited the museum yet, and maybe attracted by a gift coming from its bookshop, will become the visitors of tomorrow.
A gift, in addition, should be unique and original.

What is more beautiful than a gift that can only come from a museum bookshop and you can’t buy in any shop?
From this point of view, the MoMA Design Store of New York has been selling for years unique items and even design objects, you can buy also online, but that are produced exclusively for the museum.
So, the gift becomes memorable if the person who gets it is a child, a friend, a relative or a colleague.
It means that just the day you visited that museum you thought of that friend, giving a deeper meaning to that gift.


Few people in the world can afford to buy a masterpiece by Picasso or a Baroque sculpture, but everybody can buy a postcard or the print of a great masterpiece.

Museum gadgets are like souvenirs, which prolong the pleasure of the visit and, if it was a good experience, the object will be bought with attention, and maybe thinking of an everyday use as a memory to think about during the day.

So mugs portraying a detail of a masterpiece seen in a museum can make your morning better or canvas bags featuring a detail of a work of art can turn everyday errands into an almost poetic moment.
I’ve also written a post concerning Original mugs for art lovers which are on sale at many museum bookshops.

The museum visit doesn’t end when you exit the building, but it goes on also in the following days and months, because there are certainly works that have left a mark in every visitor, who will find more information and links, maybe connections with other museums, churches and palaces of the same city of the museum.
Museums gadgets and communication are part of that major project aimed at promoting and spreading art and knowledge.

At the beginning of this post I have encouraged you to reflect on the close relationship among the words museums gadgets and communication.
It’s an essential connection, which each museum should take in consideration when it plans a communication strategy.
No museum should underestimate the importance of museums gadgets because they are an important element to spread the knowledge of works of art it houses and activities it arranges to promote them.

As regards art and communication, I interviewed the marketing manager at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Madrid, who told me some interesting things about how a museum should plan its communication strategy and how it should use social media.

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