Research with NMS shows the value of after hours events

Museums have moved away from their traditional role as collectors and conservators of artefacts of historical importance to become more audience-focused visitor attractions. It’s a position that reflects an increasingly competitive tourism environment  – and their reliance on public sector finance.

The shift has led to the wider recognition of cultural heritage as a major contributor to the economy.

This obligation to meet the needs and wants of visitors has resulted in an improved museum experience, where museums are increasingly offering specially curated after-hours event experiences to attract, engage and retain new audiences, such as Generation Y (those aged between 20-35).

Edinburgh Napier University conducted research using National Museums Scotland as a case study, to explore the effectiveness of after-hours events in attracting, engaging and retaining new museum audiences and to apply audience development and visitor attraction management theories. Following a comprehensive narrative literature review, the research team from The Business School employed qualitative semi-structured interviews and a quantitative on-line self-completion survey to collect the necessary data.

The research findings suggest that after-hours events have been successful in attracting and engaging new museum audiences (particularly young adults) and encouraging repeat visits, therefore achieving the event and museum objectives. It is also seen that products designed specifically for one new audience may have broader appeal in engaging with other new and established audiences.

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