Museums & the “New” Visitor Experience

A museum visitor standing in front of a painting. Museums across the Western Region and the greater U.S. have been in a holding pattern since early March, circling around an eventual reopening date.

Today, only a few museums are beginning to reopen – but reopening a museum mid-pandemic means piloting through completely uncharted waters.

For what has become important now, is that museums must carry out the necessary precautions to make visitors feel safe and welcomed in this pandemic-influenced environment.

From understanding that your reception area now plays a crucial role as the front line of defense, to creating self-guided “contactless” tours, the following collection of webinars and resources will help you to reimagine, implement, and boost your “new” 2020 visitor experience.



• In this Visitor Experience Innovation for Reopening webinar from Dexibit, industry leaders from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, NASA’s Space Center Houston, and Monterey Bay Aquarium share how they’ve been preparing to “welcome visitors back with laughter and learning while keeping to physical distancing.

For additional webinars on leading in the time of crisis, visit Dexibit’s COVID-19 Center.


• How do I launch a safe Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program at my museum? What do I do with my existing hardware and rentable fleet of devices? What “new” opportunities exist?

Questions like these are answered in CultureConnect’s webinar Re-Opening with Contact-Free Visitor Experiences. Here, Samantha Diamond, CEO of CultureConnect, shares insight into how museums can offer self-guided visitor experiences with the creation or update of a mobile guide program.


• In Cuseum’s webinar, “Contactless” Future: Reimagining the Visitor Experience in the Era of Coronavirus, Brendan Ciecko (CEO & Founder of Cuseum) with Andrea Montiel de Shuman (Digital Experience Designer at Detroit Institute of Arts), Atiba Edwards (Executive VP & COO at Brooklyn Children’s Museum), & Don Undeen (Former Senior Manager of MediaLab at Metropolitan Museum of Art), examine the ever-evolving 2020 visitor experience and the move towards a “contactless” future.

Another great Cuseum webinar relating to the visitor experience is Re-opening Museums & Cultural Attractions: Succeeding in the Post-Covid Era with Digital Tools.


• Visitor Experience Group’s upcoming two-day virtual VEX 2020 Conference will reimagine the unusual 2020 visitor experience through engaging sessions and meaningful content. From October 14-16, VEXperts will dive into the digital innovations of the new museum experience, explore how analyzing audience data can offer a better understanding of patrons’ needs, and so much more.

View VEX 2020 Conference sessions and register here.

Watch the VEX ED Webinar Series.


• A vast array of useful information can be found within in the Association of Children’s Museumspreviously recorded webinars – especially those focused on reopening. Not only for use by children’s museums, industry experts discuss visitor experience strategies, the re-engineering of museums for social distancing and capacity control, diversifying outreach programs, and so much more.


• The Visitor Studies Association has an expanding list of upcoming and previously recorded webinars surrounding topics of visitor experience and community engagement.

Watch their most recent series – Culture Track Part 1: Findings and Methodologies for Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis, and Culture Track Part 2: Interpreting and Implementing Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis. Or catch up on some past shows here.



Reopening Guidelines for Indoor Museums, Galleries, Zoos, and Aquariums from the California Department of Public Health

Reopening Guidelines for Outdoor Museums and Galleries from the California Department of Public Health

How Will Covid-19 Change the Way Museums Are Built? – Smithsonian Magazine

Museums Emerging from the Pandemic: Visitor Experience – HGA

Essential Evaluators: Snapshot | Data Collection – AAM

One good thing to come out of the pandemic: reservations everywhere – The Week Magazine

How to have a Safe Visitor Experience in the midst of Coronavirus – CoReceptionist

Museum Marketing: Remapping Visitor Experiences Post-COVID-19 – Development Counsellors International (DCI)

Art Gallery Featuring Indigenous Artists Adapts To COVID-19 Pandemic With New Virtual Technologies – Business Examiner

The EVE Mobile App for Visitors – Enhanced Visitor Experience


(If you have other resources worth adding to this list, please message us in the comments below.)


Written by Jessica Noyes, Communications Coordinator, WMA

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