Visitor Comfort: New Approaches in San Diego

Hi, I'm Steve Tokar, and I'd like to invite you to a couple of San Diego Conference sessions that we've organized on the topic of visitor comfort.

jewish-contemporary-bubble-seatsHere's what we mean by comfort. The last time you and your family visited a museum, could you find your way around easily? Were there enough places to sit? Were the labels readable? Were there multiple/alternate ways to enjoy and learn? Were the restrooms comfortable? Was there reasonable food, and a nice place to eat it? Were there spaces to just chill out and take a break from museum-ing?

Think about it for a minute, then sign up for our Pre-Conference Workshop and/or Session. Also, please share your thoughts on the topic here on this blog.

Pre-Conference Workshop

Increasing Visitor Comfort to Encourage Return Visits

Sunday, October 25, 1-5:30 PM

In this tough economy, we need to do everything we can to welcome visitors and encourage them to return, become members, and support the museum financially. Visitor comfort is known to aid learning, promote mental and emotional receptivity, and increase the likelihood of a return visit; yet in many museums, comfort is not a priority.

met-restroomIn this pre-conference workshop at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego's Balboa Park, participants will explore practical, economical, and simple ways that museums can help make visitors comfortable by accommodating their physical, psychological, neurological, and social needs. Participants will work together to assess public areas of the host museum in terms of comfort and accommodation and suggest potential improvements.

Most critically, they will collaborate with the host museum staff to examine potential barriers to making those improvements and create strategies to address and overcome those barriers. Findings will be presented in a session at the conference.

If you can't make the workshop, please come to our session. Prior attendance at the workshop is NOT necessary in order to have a good, meaningful time!

Conference Session

Getting Comfortable with Visitor Comfort

Wednesday, October 28, 9:55-11:15 AM

This session offers practical and simple visitor comfort tools to apply at your museum, using the results from our pre-conference workshop at the Museum of Photographic Arts as a starting point.

Joan & Irwin Jacobs Theater at the Museum of Photographic Arts

Joan & Irwin Jacobs Theater at the Museum of Photographic Arts

Experts in design, visitor experience, and physical and learning disabilities will deconstruct what we learned from our host museum and how it might be more broadly applied to museums in general, while museum staff weigh in on the workshop results and share what they learned. Panelists and attendees will suggest and critique practical, economical, and simple ways in which all museums might increase visitor comfort-physically, psychologically, neurologically, and socially.

Meet the presenters:

Steve Tokar Writer, exhibit developer, media consultant, advocate for seating, readable labels, & more comfort in general "Please Be Seated" blog:

Stephanie Weaver Founder and Principal, Experienceology

Paul Gabriel Educational Consultant and Learning Specialist - advocate for those who process information in non-standard ways

Vivian Kung Haga Deputy Director, Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park, San Diego

Beth Katz Registered Nurse, museum evaluation consultant, advocate for museum environments that enable, not disable.

See you in San Diego!



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