If you don’t like removing the human element in guided tours, some options won’t require a museum employee to show your clients around. For example, it’s possible to offer visitors the opportunity to explore collections with other guests. Such a “tour” could include elements that an official museum tour guide would not. You could even incorporate a stop at a local café, visits to partnering museums, or an overnight stay.
Airbnb: A Case Study
Airbnb began offering “experiences” with their hosts in addition to their regular accommodation offerings in 2016. Among the many offerings on Airbnb are guided tours of museums, art galleries, and historical attractions aimed at showing a more local knowledge of the museum in the context of its hometown. Visitors can combine a museum tour with an overnight stay with the same guide, allowing for a more personal connection and social experience for the visitor. With over 1.5 million bookings for experiences each year, it’s not hard to picture this as an opportunity for growth among museums working to attract new visitors.
The Museum Hack Example
Another example is Museum Hack, a private company that organizes renegade tours of the world’s most famous museums. The company offers existing tours based on several pre-created itineraries or hires a guide to create a custom tour for those visitors. Each small group tour provides visitors with interesting information about the collections and social activities.
The tour is guided not only by an official guide but also by the group’s wishes. It brings a new perspective to a museum you may have visited hundreds of times, introducing you to the stories of the collections, your guide, and other group members. Operating across the United States, Museum Hack has redefined museum tours for a new audience. Photo opportunities, food and drink stops, personalized content, and added personalization make the tour more enjoyable.
LGBTQ+ Tours at the Victoria and Albert Museum
To make tours more personal, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, also known as the V&T, has established LGBTQ+ specific tours. These tours, which take place once a month, are free guided tours that combine a number of collections to highlight historical and cultural LGBTQ+ content.
Whether it’s the artist or the art itself, the tours draw on the guides’ personal experiences and group input to navigate the museum. The guide can choose to include any object in the museum and share stories and personal experiences associated with it. In developing a free tour that caters to an underrepresented group of visitors, produced by members of the LGBTQ+ community, the V&A has made a usually hidden story more visible and accessible. In 2017, the group recorded the tour for its followers on social media, and over the past two years, it has been viewed more than 12,000 times.