Local Audiences in Greek Museums
The case study of Tinos Archaeological Museum
Dissertation for the Master of Arts in
University of Leicester
Dedicated to my Father, Matthaios Potiris,
whose restless efforts for betterment of the life inspired
me to keep looking the bright side. His selflessness and dedication
towards his culture and humanity are continuously energizing
the life of Tinos.
I am very grateful to all my lecturers and professors in the Department
of Museum Studies, who supported me to accomplish this task. I
found it very appropriate to thank my supervisor, Richard Sandell,
who guided me step by step in my studies. I thank him for his patience,
continuous suggestions and prompt availability.
I want to thank my parents and my sister, Matthaios, Georgia and
Elena, who supported me psychologically, emotionally and financially
throughout my studies. Without their support it would be difficult
for me to achieve any success in my life.
I thank all my friends who always are there for me, and especially
to those, who acknowledged my abilities better than me and provided
support whenever I felt blue during my work on this paper.
I feel obliged to convey my thankful feelings to all the people
of Tinos particularly my interviewees, whose invaluable contribution
enabled me to complete my research. I thank all of them for their
time, trust and patience to answer my questions accurately and
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Audience research as marketing tool
Planning of study
Chapter 2: Literature review
Where my study fits in:
Chapter 3: Methodology
Qualitative v/s quantitative
Characteristics of Qualitative Research
Steps to organize Qualitative research
Designing the research: Interviews
Advantages and disadvantages of the
My research method and why I chose it
Case study: Pros and cons.
Selection of Museum
Situation of Tinos Island
Reasons why I chose this museum
What will be the findings: Hypothesis
Chapter 4: What Non-visitors think?
Non-visitors’ expectations inside the
Mobility and accessibility: An ‘elderly’
concern of elderly people.
Basic and leisure facilities: Toilets,
Cafe, a Shop … and ‘not only’
Displays & Labels’ should ‘speak’
to the visitors.
Museums’ shift from ‘an authoritarian
figure’ to ‘an open arm friend’
People think about money (free entry,
family tickets, free passes)
Opening hours of museum v/s working
hours of the non-visitors
Other concerns: Street signs and parking
Impaired people’s (well deserved) desire
for audio and visual aid
Replica exhibits, explanatory panels,
maps, and model ancient city models
Museum context: exhibition and events
Education and fun for children
Educational documentaries for local
student, visitors, families
Family events, Children’s activities,
organized tours, and leisure activities for elderly people
Temporary/short term exhibitions
Advertising the museum events and exhibitions
Local radio/newspapers/ Television,
Leaflets and posters (in cafes, ships, villages)
Chapter 5: What needs to be done
Accessibility and mobility inside the
Chapter 6: Conclusion
Appendix A: Questions for the interviews
of non-visitors of TinosArchaeological Museum
During the last two decades, there has been a change
in the museum role in the society. The focus of museums has been
turned from objects to visitors in recent years. The
museums have been turned from storehouses for artefacts into an
active learning environment for the visitors. Museums,
apart from exhibiting collections, have started taking care of
their audience also. As Anne Pennington suggests, “museums aim
to make their collections accessible and enjoyable”. Visitors,
as recognized in recent years, are considered one of the most important
resources of the museums. The
new role of the museum is not only to display the objects, so to
create better access for visitors, but also to assist them to get
as much as they can from their visit to museums. Considering this
close relationship between museums and their visitors, it has become
increasingly important that museums should be more open, democratic,
responsive and professional. Increasingly,
expectations of the visitors have been raised and they expect more
involved and participatory experience from their visits. As
T. Ambrose and C. Paine argue in Museum Basics:
Museums have to engage interest through active involvement
with their users and build on this to achieve their objectives.
Museum managers should encourage users to explore and discover
the museum’s collections and services for themselves. This is
in contrast to the traditional approach still prevalent in many
museums where expertise resides in the museum alone and users
are perceived as passive recipients of what the museum determines
should be on offer.
research as marketing tool
Public facilitation and involvement should be carefully
considered by museums. Successful museums place their audience
higher in their priorities. The
key of success for the museum is to understand the public interests
and concerns, and design their services to accommodate their needs.
These services should attract and engage the public since new role
of museum cannot be considered complete without visitors’ involvement.
Developing the audience through non-visitor inclusion is one of
the key areas. These studies of audience development include all
the factors that have been discussed above.
Regardless of their size or location, either smaller or larger
or even national, museums of all kinds are looking forward to strengthen
their relationship with the existing audiences and to reach new
and different groups of visitors. The
methods and procedures, which the museum uses in order to enhance
its services to meet the needs and requirements of its users, come
under museum marketing. Prior
to design any museum marketing strategy, it is necessary to complete
market/audience research. Market research is considered as a helping
tool for museums to identify their audience’s needs. Audience
research helps to identify the museum and visitors needs and museum
marketing is necessary in order to fulfil these needs. As in all
organisations, ‘marketing is the delivery of customer satisfaction
at a profit. The twofold goal of marketing is to attract new customers
by promising superior value and to keep and grow current customers
by delivering satisfaction’. Marketing
depends on the combination of certain factors (i.e. product, price,
place and promotion) which are known as a ‘marketing mix’.
This research would help the museum to understand about visitors’
needs and interests and reasons why they do not visit the museum.
This research also provides the information about the existing
services of the museums if they meet the needs of the audiences
or not. Visitors
studies can help the staff of a museum (from curator and educator
to the marketing staff) to communicate better with the museum visitors.
In this way, any museum can use these studies in order to find
out who current visitors are and who potential visitors might be,
and what those barriers that stop them to visit are. Market
research is necessary, either for a new museum, when it is under
development, or for an existing one, and it is helpful to address
new market segments and developing new audiences. It
enables the museum to measure its success by the number of the
visitors and by learning their opinion about museum and their experiences
during their visit.
Good planning can help to better control a visitor study. However,
there are some important parameters that need to be considered.
First of all, for good visitor research an overall aim needs to
be set. This will identify what the researcher needs to know and
why. Furthermore, the aim must be clear and potentially achievable.
Finally, clear objectives should be also set, so the whole study
should be well oriented and the findings should be absolutely relevant
to the topic.
As Pennington states for good audience research, there should be
clear aim about what will the study achieve and how:
I have chosen to study about local audience development where the
local audience is not involved with the museum.
Because audience research is such a vast area of inquiry, I have
chosen to focus my discussion on Greek museums due to their historical
reputation and, at present, their poor involvement in the public
life. Greece is a country well known in the museum and archaeological
world for its rich history and important heritage. It has a large
number of museums that store and exhibit this heritage. A large
number of foreign visitors visit these museums every year. In contrast,
local people don’t visit these museums regularly, if at all. Due
to these conditions, I found that there is a great need of marketing
and developing procedures in these museums in order to attract
the local audiences. As I found during my research, there is very
little amount of research that has been done in this area in Greece.
My study, in the context of situation in Greece, will focus on
the reasons that hinder the local audience to visit museums. This
study will also try analysing the expectations of the local audiences
of the Greek museums and will suggest methods to develop certain
procedures to meet these expectations.
Due to the nature of my study, I found qualitative research more
appropriate than quantitative research. I collected the audience
response in interviews and through qualitative research methods,
I was able to analyse the data gathered through these interviews
and to form the categories from which, I drew my conclusions concerning
required marketing and development strategies in local Greek museums.
Chapter 2 of this thesis explores previously completed studies
in this area in order to set its conceptual framework. In this
chapter, previous surveys in the same study area will be considered.
This chapter also provides some examples of other countries’ museums
that have similar audience involvement and provide comparisons
with other countries that have developed their marketing procedures
in their local museums.
Chapter 3 discusses the methodology used in this study in detail
and provides the reasons to choose these methods in order to explore
research question. In this chapter, I will also try to provide
some contrast of different methods in order to explain the exact
reasons why I chose this particular method (interviews and case
study through qualitative research) to complete my study.
Audience research and museum marketing, as discussed
in the introductory chapter, has changed in recent decades, with
studies focusing more on audiences rather than on keeping collections
in museums. In this context, various studies have been conducted
and the question of audience involvement has been explored in many
different ways. Previous studies indicate that new perceptions
were formed after 1940. These new perceptions include the preservation
of cultural heritage, protection of this heritage from illicit
transfer and providing more access for the general public. During
the 1950s and 1960s museums became more democratic in providing
access to everyone rather than to a specific group of privileged
As we move further in exploring past studies, audience research
focuses on studies of local and non-local public, and provides
more details on the behaviour and socio-economical factors of the
audience in order to develop the answers for the audience research
questions. Following this chapter, I will elaborate on certain
recent studies that develop the conceptual framework of my study.
These Investigations show the flow of audience research studies
in last few decades and their findings. Also these studies can
be representative of the audience research that is going on in
various areas of the world, especially the USA, Canada, and the
UK. As my study will focus on the situation in Greek museums, this
framework will provide the context and foundation for my study.
I will build on previous research methods specific to audience
research within museum studies. I have chosen the following papers
from a vast number of studies in this area due to their direct
relationship with audience development and the understanding of
audience responses. These studies are most relevant to my paper
because of the methodologies used to approach audience response,
and the fact that the research focuses mainly on the needs and
wants of the audience.
Dunkan Cameron, in his article ‘Museums and Public
Access: the Glenbow Approach’,
in 1982, provides a flashback on the museum visitors’ access problem
in the past, and uses examples of some of his personal childhood
memories. He shows
the importance and connectivity of physical and intellectual access
to the museums. He claims that all the museum visitors have the
right to access all museum resources, and preventing them from
doing so could lead to denial. He also mentions that the lack of
information about collections leaves them meaningless and they
may misunderstand them or, in the worst case, ignore them.
Intellectual access means displaying all the available
data about the object. Furthermore, he explains that a museum is
a resource for all the visitors; it connects them with the collections,
with the staff and everything else that it has in it.
At the end, Cameron quotes the criteria/objectives for intellectual
access in museums in 1980’s (which is also the chronological period
during which he wrote the article). These are: the physical access
to the museum facilities, the physical access to the collections,
the intellectual access by making information about objects available
to the general public, the simplification of information, the accessibility
of more resources than merely collections (i.e. research etc.),
and providing to interested visitors the information about objects
through simple and synoptic presentations.
Cameron claim on access (physical and intellectual) to the museum
collection and information is one of the main point of my study
and my study will focus on this point to understand if audience
feel their access to the museum or not.
Cameron discuss access of visitors, Marilyn Hood, in her study
“Staying away: why people choose not to visit museums” in
1983, and sets the question, why museums, despite of all efforts
to provide facilities, not attract all possible audiences? Why
always there are some ‘non-participants’ who decide not to visit
the museum? She reviews the research during last half of the century
and finds that many studies have been done in order to explore
the answers for the above questions.
The part of the population visits the museums, apart from highly
educated, is salaried young people. She emphasizes the importance
of ‘psychographic characteristics’ of both, visitors and non-visitors;
how they spend their leisure time, their interests, values etc.
In this way it is easy to define the differences between these
two groups and to develop plans to attract non-visitors. Hood enumerates
some of main choices of people in their leisure time; amongst these
choices are: the social interaction and having new experiences.
She refers to a survey which was conducted by the Toledo Museum
of Art, Toledo, Ohio, in 1980-1981. Questionnaires were given
to some invited participants from all backgrounds and it was found,
through these questions, who are regular visitors and who are non-visitors
and what their reasons are.
It was interesting finding that occasional participants are closer
to the non-participants than to the frequent visitors. Moreover,
family-centred activities are desirable more from the non-visitor
or occasional visitors than the regular. Overall, she found that
different groups are looking for different benefits in their leisure
Hood concludes with the point that museums must find other ways
to attract the non-visitors based on the criteria which two groups
desire in their leisure time. She suggests that museums should
create the link between objects collections and their visitors’
lives. And by this, the current programmes should not be abandoned.
As, concerning the occasional visitors, museums should provide
the facilities so they could feel comfortable physically as well
as psychologically. Finally, the author proposes that the museums
should include the occasional and non-visitors by finding their
interests and needs and providing them what they find missing in
findings about the people’s leisure time and their interest provides
relative theory to my work here since my interviews also focus
on finding the local public’s leisure time habits and trying to
find how they can spend their leisure time in the museum.
David Prince’s survey approaching non-visitors is also very relevant
study within the same context of finding reasons of non-visitors.
In his research about “Factors Influencing Museum Visits”,
in 1990, he claims that museums orientate to both: places of exhibition
and preservation of the heritage, and to visitors that they will
attract. Since the mid 1970s, the museums have grown up to: academic
institutions, symbols of local importance and pride, and places
of education and entertainment, especially in UK. Based on that,
there is a continuous increase of museum visitors. Furthermore,
museums nowadays are seen as businesses and they receive financial
support by a variety of factors. Amongst them are: the government,
local authorities, schools etc.
Despite the above mentioned facts, museums sometimes do not seem
to support their perception as social institutions. So, there is
a general query how museums, though they are social institutions,
seem not to pay attention to visitors’ needs. Based on that, a
country-wide survey, the first study on visitors and non-visitors
perceptions in museums as social institutions in UK in 1988, was
undertaken in Lincolnshire.
When considering museum survey, museum audience contains from:
the visitors, the potential audience and the target audience. Most
visitor surveys focus on on-site audiences, their needs, likes,
dislikes etc. But there is great need, also, to consider the non-visitors,
as potential audience, and their understanding of museums as both
social institutions and visiting destinations.
This survey report categorized their sample into three classes,
i.e. salaried middle class, the intermediate group and the working
class and derived conclusions by taking consideration of social
and educational backgrounds of the participants. This study found
‘no encouragement for museums to improve or enhance their retailing
facilities or potential.
Special and temporary exhibition were also not supported significantly
in this survey results. However this survey suggested arranging
workshops where visitor can see people making and doing things.
The study emphasized, in the conclusion, on the need of continuous
communication to the public about the museums roles and aspiration.
Prince’s findings shows different angles of the audience studies
since he focused on non-visitors and found that many ‘facilities’
that attracts visitors may not be much of interest of non-visitors.
This also provides my study a different angle to explore if some
of the non-visitor in my particular case study falls under the
same category (i.e. they don’t want to visit it anyway).
Vanessa Trevelyan, in her article “Non-Visitors with attitude”,
in 1991, tries to find out the reasons which force people not to
visit the museums. She brings examples of some excuses that people
provide when they choose not to visit museums. First of all, they
worry that they might not be able to understand the labels because
they are written in museums stereotypical language. Moreover they
may have some problems of mobility inside the museum, especially
if they visit accompanied by their children, or carrying a baby
stroller. Also they are not sure if they can have facilities related
to babies e.g. changing tables or baby rooms etc. Trevelyan discusses
about the survey which was conducted by the London museums Committee
and Services about the attitudes of non-visitors, particularly
who live closer by. In the detailed discussion published in the
report by London Museums Consultative Committee,
she analyses the factors that keep people away from the museums,
physical and psychological. Some of them are opening hours, mobility
of the people with disability or families with children, museum
staff’s attitude, language of the labels text, and museum environment
She describes the qualitative procedures that were followed by
discussions with a variety of focus groups, like elderly people,
mothers with young children, disabled people and some ethnic minorities
of the area. By the interviewees’ responses, the study concludes
that although people know about the role museums play but they
would not visit them so easily because of a variety of reasons.
It could be their bad experience during their school time visit,
and now they are not willing to change their opinion and also are
unaware of the changes that have been done in the museums. They
compare the environment of the museums with churches or the libraries.
They think that these places are for families or for the people
who are interested in a specific research. Some of the respondents
claimed that they prefer to visit big museums than local ones,
although the later is cheaper to visit. They find them more antiquated,
without interesting activities they can participate in. In conclusion,
“museums were perceived as unwelcoming, unattractive and lacking
in interesting exhibits”. People find them expensive, with physical
barriers which exclude the disabled, elderly people or mothers
with young children. Finally, people believe that the performance
of the museums lack certain advancements; they (most of the time)
don’t use media or other modern techniques to attract the public
and as a result, they cannot compete other public attractions.
Trevelyan’s study gives me direction for my study to explore audience
responses more critically since they might be using excuses based
on their bad experiences in their past or childhood. Her exploration
of different groups’ needs may also help my identifying different
categories in my audience and their particular needs.
Nottingham City Council carried out a qualitative focus group research
in November 1993,
in order to find out the views of users and potential users of
Nottingham City Museums and Art Gallery about them. Many people
were interviewed about a variety of topics. The museum visitors
responded that main reasons why they visit the museums is their
interest in them and the context of museums, the entertainment
that they get out of the visiting museums, and the information/education
that museums offer to them and their families.
On the other hand, the non-museum users had different opinion on
visiting the museums.
They can be divided into three groups: the unimpressed, the unsure
and the unaware. The first category finds museum not pleasant and
a main reason is because they had negative experiences in their
childhood. The second group is not sure if they can visit the museums.
People with disabilities or mothers with young children find difficult
to access the museums. They are unaware if the museum provides
accessibility, mobility and other important facilities to them,
or even if they are welcomed. The third category is unaware about
the existence of museums and they are not interested in visiting
them. From the survey, it was derived a clear conclusion: that
non-visitors have reasons for not visiting the museums.
First of all, most of the times they have bad impression about
museums in their minds. Possibly, based on their childhood visits
and they consider them as a strict place that there is no freedom
or they would not be welcomed. Secondly, based on their memories,
non-visitors find the museums as places for only a specific part
of the public, the educated people or the specialists. They found
label texts difficult for them to read and understand them, and
feel unattached to them since after all these labels are not useful
in their lives. Finally, there is an information gap that forces
people not to visit museums. People are uninformed about the museums,
its facilities, its opening hours, or even the entry fee. There
are some other conclusions from the interviews of all the groups;
museum staff must be aware of information considering the exhibits,
museums must have some interactive activities for all the visitors,
like guide tours with headphones, display cases at the convenient
height for children and disabled people, availability of audiovisual
equipment, provision of kid’s activities etc. Moreover, regular
museum users would prefer some things to be changed in the museums,
and, both, users and non-users, require specific facilities inside
the museum, e.g.
comfortable toilets, better shops, facilities for mothers with
babies, better information etc. Interviewees gave ideas about how
the museums should be advertised.
Some of them are: information in local newspapers, radio and TV
advertising, posters etc. Also, they stated their opinions about
paying entrance to visit the museums.
Most of them answered that if there is something worth visiting,
they are willing to pay for it but at a reasonable cost.
In conclusion, it was derived from the whole survey that both visitors
and non-visitors need interaction to go to the museums, facilities
for all the groups, establishing link between past and present
through exhibitions, and entertainment offered with information
I chose this study useful and within the same context as my study
also explore the audience within same categories e.g. ‘unaware’
and ‘unsure’. Although my study focus is mainly on the changes
required in the museum and outside of the museum, but these categorization
will help me organizing my audience response. The findings of this
study also provide good context to the advertisement means as local
museums of Greece, most of the time, are not using any advertisement
strategy. Above all, psychological experiences, special groups’
needs and focus on the kids and families needs are also common
backgrounds for my study.
Joselyn Dodd and Richard Sandell, in their book “Building Bridges”,
in 1998, discuss about audience development and, through many examples
of museums in UK, provide guidance on that. First of all, they
support that the audience development is necessary in every museum.
Although it demands a lot of work and time devoted to them, museums
should take care, not only of regular visitors, but they should
also care why some people choose not to visit them, or, even after
visiting them, they decide not to visit them again.
Nowadays, museums show interest in broadening their audiences and
try to find out what are that factors stopping non-visitors to
visit them. In this way, museums are developing ways of study and
they come closer to their audiences. But, some of them, the small
ones, need some guidance on that. The authors claim that their
work not only covers this need of new audience development, but
also it provides ways and strategies about how to achieve it, or
ideas about how to strengthen the connection of museum with the
existing visitors. With extensive explanation about the meaning
of ‘audience development’, Dodd and Sandell are providing the reasons
why to put the visitors needs first, and how to avoid the exclusion
of the rest from the museum.
They report the reasons why museums should develop new audiences,
and, amongst them, they posits: the competition with other museums,
the need to justify the funding, the need to increase the income
from the museum visitors, the need to prove to the community and
local authorities that they are engaged, the pressure for equal
access to the museums from political groups. Furthermore, they
consider the advantages that every museum gets through audience
advantages include: the attraction of more and more visitors, and
especially those who would never possibly thought to visit the
museum, the ability to show their social status and importance,
the increase of the incomes by meeting the criteria set by the
funding sources, and the promotion of the idea of equal access
to the museum and all its services to the general public.
The writers continue by giving the spark to some museums that may
be unsecure by taking the decision of proceeding to audience development.
They suggest observing the current visitor figures – the age groups
that they belong to, their social background etc. In this way,
it is easier to think who might be the potential new audience and
how to attract it. Moreover, because the audience development is
recent in museums history, museums should take ideas from communities
and other non-museum organisations and consult them about the decisions
they take. Also, the lack of funding for audience development and
less sources is not the factor that stops the development procedure.
In fact, this can be resolved with simple steps by observing the
museum visitors and finding the missing audiences and providing
comforting means that require less or no financial requirements.
Finally, the museums should adapt some changes in order to gain
more visitors, though they may lose some regular attendants.
Finding out and being aware of the audience needs is something
vital an essential in the audience development procedures. This
information is invaluable and helps to understand who is currently
visiting the museum, what experience they get, and who do not and
why. In order to succeed and get this information, the museum must
follow some steps. These are the market research, which help to
identify the existing and potential visitors, and the evaluation,
which actually confirms if the methods which the museum uses are
effective, and, if not, what should be done.
For understanding audience’s needs, it is important and extremely
valuable to meet and discuss with the target audience.
Speaking to the individuals will affect directly the purpose of
museum study. Furthermore, by conducting discussion groups with
representatives from all the community groups will be provided
wider and full opinions and perspectives. Finally, getting involved
with the community and talking to individuals will help the museum
to understand their point of views which were not clear before.
A representative paradigm for all the above mentioned is the survey
that have been done by the Elmbridge museum.
In order to find out if the museum’s refurbishment will meet the
needs of museum visitors and non-visitors, the museum conducted
a discussion consulting group. In the panel were individuals from
both sides and by all these procedures, the participants felt that
they took part in the actual museum decision-making and that they
could change the situation the way they wanted.
By identifying the barriers which stop the target audience from
visiting the museum, strategies and solutions to overcome them
are easier to be found.
With another case study of Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery,
Dodd and Sandell state successfully their ideas about the link
between temporary exhibitions and the attendants.
They claim that organising temporary exhibitions do not ensure
that the visitors are increased. They may even be disappointed.
In order to keep them visiting, the museum must look into their
needs and plan effectively programmes for long-term commitment.
And great funding is not necessary all the times as the authors
explain: “audience development initiatives need not to be costly”.
The writers suggest some audience development strategies and ideas
which, if they be used, might attract new visitors.
Amongst them: involving the public in making and preparing exhibitions,
matching the already existing collections with new ones,
allowing on-line and virtual access to the public,
planning family-focused activities,
‘spread the word’ plan by creating communication networks, which
is low cost marketing also,
creating programmes and other activities for foreign visitors,
in order to include them through interaction with the museum and
and being in touch with the public, so people will feel close to
the museum and always informed about its exhibitions and activities.
I found this study helpful and related
to my study in many ways. First of all this research (by Joselyn
Dodd and Richard Sandell) provides authentic judgement on the recommendations
made by previous studies and suggests that all the changes are
not necessarily provides good results if not adapted with good
understanding and study of about the needs of visitors. Secondly
this study suggests the importance of close interaction of the
audience with the museum and its exhibitions through many ways.
And last but not least, this study provides simplistic and economical
solutions to enhance museum’s audience by offering changes in the
environment and interaction with the visitors that cost no financial
burden on museum.
Where my study fits in:
Abovementioned studies, focusing on
audience development, provide a good base to understand and conceptualize
the current study about Greek museums. These researches, mainly
held in US, Canada and UK, however miss some exploration of certain
socio-economical conditions other countries have. My study will
fill this gap for Greek museums. This study will explore the reasons
that hold the local public to visit the museums and also will provide
discussion on the conditions of the Greek museums that need to
be changed in order to involve local audiences. As I found, there
is very little amount of literature available about Greek museums,
my research will provide the basis for further studies in the same
area for Greece. In search of similar conditions, I found missing
literature and poor conditions of museums. I also found that there
is a very little amount of studies available about the relationship
of museum with its local community in several other countries.
There were some supplemental works done but not as focused projects.
One of the examples of these side projects is ‘Quseir heritage’
project in Egypt.
This was the part of ‘The Quseir al-Qadim Project’. In ‘Quseir
heritage’, dedicated staff was appointed to involve the local community
in the heritage and archaeology of the area. Hence, this work on
Greek museums will also serve as pioneer research for all these
countries that have similar lack of conditions and literature.
This research will provide guidelines about audience development
in these countries, not by the examples of already developed museums
but by studying real conditions of the local museums in these countries.
As mentioned previously in the introduction,
the aim of my study is to develop the local audience in the local
Greek museums. The research question points specifically the need
of audience research. As Pennington suggests, after setting the
aim of my study I chose the appropriate method through which I
explore this topic. Although audience research could be done in
both ways through quantitative surveys or through qualitative
analysis of the data gathered by different means, I chose qualitative
for certain specific reasons. Since I intended to find the reasons
behind the non-involvement of the local audience, I found it appropriate
and more relevant to gather information through interviews and
then perform qualitative analysis on the responses of the interviewees.
In the following paragraphs I will explain one by one, why I chose
a local Greek museum as my case study and why I chose interviewing
as my main method to gather audience response.
Audience research mainly uses surveys
to quantify the response of the public in order to find the answer
for a particular research. The reason why I didn’t choose quantitative
research is because this kind of research is better suited to get
demographic data and provides statistical information. This
method can answer many general questions as it can help to find
out how many visitors come to the museum (visitor attendance),
their ethnic background, their origin etc. On the other hand, qualitative
research can help you to understand the audience’s thoughts and
considerations about the museum itself, its exhibitions and its
research can help you begin to understand your audiences rather
than simply count them. It is an ethnographic or anthropological
research helps to understand the people’s view and opinions. Qualitative
method provides more subjective answers as compare to quantitative
method even if later ask the same questions. Qualitative
study can help in finding ways to improve the experience of the
visitors within the museum and it can provide better understanding
of the obstacles that the visitors face, both, with physical and
intellectual access. This
research has a social form that focuses on the way that the people
themselves interpret and feel their experiences or the world that
they live. According
to Immy Holloway, “the basis of qualitative research lies in the
interpretive approach to social reality”. Researchers, through
it, explore the behaviours, perspectives and experiences of the
people they study. Denscombre
conceptualizes qualitative research as “an umbrella term that covers
a variety of styles of social research, drawing on a variety of
disciplines such as sociology, social anthropology and social psychology”.
In the light of all above mentioned reasons, I found qualitative
method more appropriate for this study in order to get in-depth
reasons of audience non-involvement.
of Qualitative Research
Holloway mentions about the characteristics
of the qualitative research. First
of all, the theoretical framework is derived from the data directly,
and it is not finite. Moreover, the researchers of qualitative
research emphasize the opinions of the individuals who are involved
in this research, as well as perceptions and interpretations. Finally,
a close connection is developed between the researcher and the
researched person, which defines the communication at the interpretation
organize Qualitative research
As Marshall mentioned, every researcher
who wants to follow qualitative research faces three main challenges.
First of all, he has to be informed about this method and to develop
a conceptual framework about his study. Secondly, he has to plan
and design the processes that he will follow, so they will be systematic
and manageable. Finally, he has to make sure that he will use the
the research: Interviews
While designing the qualitative research,
selection of the sample is vitally important since this approach
considers the respondents’ opinions more than just counting the
participants. Some of the important approaches in qualitative research
are the participation, observation and in-depth interviewing. The
observation approach is one of the most fundamental and critical
methods in all qualitative methods. Observation plays an important
role, even in in-depth interviews, as the researcher observes the
body language and the gestures of the interviewee. With
in-depth interviewing, the researcher becomes ‘instrument’. He
enters into the lives of the participants and personalizes the
whole procedure. Kahn
and Cannel describe this procedure as ‘a conversation with a purpose’.
The cooperation between researcher and participant is essential,
because interviews demand personal interaction. Last
but not least, interviews of any type (informal conversational,
general guide approach and standard open-ended) can become a really
useful way of collecting big amount of data in short time.
and disadvantages of the two methods
Both quantitative and qualitative
methods have advantages and disadvantages. The quantitative data
tend to be more scientific and their analysis seems to be built
on objective laws. Moreover, the analysis can be quick and the
findings are based on measurements and not on the impressions that
the researcher gets. Concerning the cons of this research, we can
say that the quality of the data is not so good, considering that
computers do this analysis and there is too much complexity. Also,
as Denscombre concludes, “quantitative analysis is not as scientifically
objective as it might seem on the surface”.
On the other hand, the data and the analysis of qualitative research
are ‘grounded’ based on theories and, the details and the data
have more richness. Furthermore, with qualitative research, the
researcher is freer to find and use more than one explanation for
the findings. However, qualitative analysis has some disadvantages.
The findings might be less representative and their representation
seems to depend on the researcher him/herself. In addition, through
interviews it is possible for some of the data to be lost or misquoted
by the researcher. Finally, some of the findings might demand awareness
from the analyst, and if there is not, oversimplification of findings
is possible. Considering
all of above I found qualitative research more appropriate since
it provides more flexibility to find the answers this study is
aiming to get. Also since quantitative method cannot find the reasons
behind audience behaviour, qualitative is left the only and most
appropriate choice for this study.
method and why I chose it
For my research, as explained earlier,
I decided that the most appropriate way is qualitative research.
This helped me to come closer to the people’s ideas and thoughts.
Generally, qualitative research helps to understand why and how
people act, think and feel. In contrary,
through the quantitative research you cannot get the in-depth reasons.
It is vital for most of the cultural organisations to know their
audiences motivations to visit them. Most of the times, they conduct
quantitative demographic researches in order to learn who and how
many are attending them. They are less interested to conduct qualitative
research on why their audiences attend them and what are the benefits
that they are seeking for. However
qualitative research methods help to understand about the consumer’s
motivation. With qualitative method, we put the emphasis, not on
the size of the sample, but on the quality of the questions design
and the analysis of the resulting information. These
are the case study and the interviews in this research.
Survey by interviews is one of the main types of visitor’s surveys
and an attractive proposition for every researcher.
Visitor survey by interviews offers special contact between the
interviewer and the visitor (or non-visitor). Also, this method
is appropriate to be used in all the kind of researches: large-scale
and small-scale. It
helps more detailed questioning and in general, as Clare Conybeare
supports, the results of an interview are more reliable than those
by other means; and
all these can be achieved without the need of complex equipment
or the need of extra time to learn new skills. The
recipe is old, safe and always successful.
Another main reason to choose the qualitative method
is because it requires and supports the in-depth interviewing,
which, as I decided, is the best method for the data collection,
according to especially for what my study is aimed to explore.
Interviewing provides some control to the researcher in order to
direct the interview discussion according to the information required
for the research and try to avoid unnecessary details if they come
along. This technique
also help researcher to ask further questions on the spot if she
needs more information or explanation for a certain point or she
finds new angle during the discussion and wants to add as new question
in her study. All these benefits of interviewing are enough to
make it main requirement of this study’s methodology.
The in-depth interviews, in qualitative research, have become a
very popular strategy in the collection of the data and they provide
really ‘rich’ data. With
one-to-one interviews and open ended questions we can receive full
and explanatory comments from the responders. In-depth
interviewing assists asking the people open-ended questions and
knowing the reasons without setting presumed questions. Furthermore,
with observation through interviewing we can understand someone’s
perspective, and we can be able to draw inferences about this perspective
that we could not obtain by relying exclusively on interview data.
Actually, this is the main advantage of the qualitative research;
the research is centred on the interviewee and so some other parameters,
like body language, pauses etc., can be assessed.
On the other hand, every researcher should consider some important
parameters before using interviews in his research. First of all,
she should be definite that she really needs this kind of information
that the interviews provide, and secondly, she should be positive
that she can be based on this information she will get from the
interviewees and she can use them for her own purposes. I
chose interviews over questionnaires because my study belongs to
identify the visible and hidden behaviours of the non-visitors.
Through qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews, my study will
be able to discover non-visitors habits, keeping them indifferent
to the local museums. In general, interviews are essential part
of case studies because most of them are related to human affairs.
And these human affairs are important to be reported through the
eyes of interviewees in order to provide insights into every situation.
The most common ways of qualitative interviewing are the unstructured
interviews (without standard type) and the semi-structured interviews.
For my research I found more appropriate and suitable the second
one. In this way of interviewing, the people respond with their
own words and within the time they need. Also, the researcher makes
the questions with the order that she thinks it is more appropriate
to each of the interviewees, but in the same time she makes sure
that she gets all the necessary information, that she needs to
receive about her research topic. In this way the informants feel
free to express and report all their thoughts and opinions, and
the interviewer is satisfied because she gains all that she wants
without forcing them.
An essential and the biggest part of my research
is the case study I chose. For small-scale researches, case study
is really famous and widespread. In
a case study, the researcher is encouraged to use a variety of
methods and sources and to follow other procedures. Besides,
one of the most important ways, to get case study’s information,
is the use of interviews. A
good case study requires the researcher to justify the reasons
why she selected the particular case and why this is suitable and
necessary for the purposes of the research. The main purpose of
using a case study is because it serves as a representative and
so the findings can be generalized for the whole class it represents.
In case study, researcher performs a crucial task of identifying
the significant features on which comparison with other cases can
Pros and cons.
Every case study approach has some
advantages and disadvantages. According to Martyn Denscombre, first
advantage can be the holistic analysis that we gain without isolated
factors. Also, this approach allows the use of a variety of different
research methods. Finally, the researcher needs to concentrate
only to one research site or just few. On the other hand, in the
disadvantages we can include that the researcher needs to be careful
to suspect and demonstrate the extent to which the case is similar
to other of its type. Moreover, the case study can be unwarranted.
The researcher needs to be careful to details and rigour in the
use of the approach.
Due to the scope of my study, I intend to choose the museum in
the region where all the conditions are met to study i.e. less
interest of local public, and a museum with historical background.
Hence I chose the local museum in the island of Greece, Tinos.
This museum is an archaeological museum, founded in 1960. Its main
collection consists on the antiquities of the Tinos Island. This
museum has a reasonable number of visitors mainly from tourists.
Another type of visitors is schools as part of their extra-curriculum
activities. The missing audience, as museum visitor books shows,
is local public.
Abovementioned conditions of a local museum are not particular
to this museum only, but this scenario could be found in most of
the museums in Greece. This is the reason I consider this museum
as an icon for this type of studies and chose as representative
of all the museums of Greece who have their local audience missing.
of Tinos Island
Tinos is a medium sized island with,
as all the rest Greece, many archaeological sites. It contains
a reasonable number of people in the city and in its countryside.
The city has all the activities of social life and takes active
part in the Greece socio-cultural lifestyle. In this context, the
museum has very less number of local people visiting that provides
the background to the research about the reasons, why local people
of the island do not intend to visit the museum, in the context
of audience development studies.
I chose this museum
The main reason to choose
this museum is its popularity among the foreign tourists due to
its significance of having historical and archaeological collections.
I chose this because this museum fulfils all the conditions to
be called a national level museum that is also popular among international
visitors. Its location is also ideal for my study, since it is
located in the heart of the city and easily accessible to all the
population of the city and around. Despite of all these positive
points about the museum, the fact remains that the museum does
not have mentionable number of visitors from the local population.
This missing factor of local people involvement in the museum made
it the right choice for this study.
As I mentioned above, I chose to interview the non-visitors in
order to understand the reasons of them not feeling attached to
the museum and not visiting it occasionally. I selected my sample
interviewees from the population of the island of Tinos. This sample
of interviewees represents of all the people of Tinos since it
covers most of the demographic differences of the local community
of the island. This group consist of people from all ages, gender,
educational backgrounds, and professions. This diversity of the
group makes it more appropriate to represent the local community
of the island. During the recruitment of the interviewee, the efforts
were made to select the people who had not visited the museum recently,
in couple of years, in order to get the response of ‘non-visitors’.
be the findings: Hypothesis
Through the in-depth interviews, this
study will find the reasons local non-visitors provide for not
going to the museums so often or not visiting museum at all. The
interviews are supposed to provide the answers from all different
kinds of people not visiting local museum. Through these interviews,
it would be derived that what are the obstacles that stop people
visiting museums and what are the conditions within the museum
that should be changed in order to attract the non-visitors.
After the basic questions about the
interviewee age, gender and education, further questions are made
to find the main reasons for a person not to visit the museum at
his/her door steps and has popularity among the international tourists.
These questions (Appendix A) covers the initial queries about the
reasons and suggestions non-visitors have. Further categories would
be derived from the responses of the interviewees in order to understand
the complete list of categories covering the reasons of non-visitors.
Analysis of interviewees’ responses leads the study to explore
all aspects that affect the audience visit to the museum. In case
of Tinos Archaeological museum, as my case study, I found responses
of interviewees covering both problems related to all museums and
problems particular to the local museums in Greece. The following
discussion explores these reasons one by one in order to compare
and find the relationships with previous studies held in the USA,
UK and Canada.
expectations inside the Museum
As ‘changes inside the
museum’ drew attention of many of the interviewees, and they found
them more problematic to visit, I discuss this part first, here.
The changes inside the museums are covering most of the responses
related to facilities, mobility and other factors of convenience
for the visitors within the museum.
and accessibility: An ‘elderly’ concern of elderly people.
Many responses pointed out the difficulty of access
and mobility, getting to and within the museum (figs. 1, 2, 3),
an issue also mentioned by Vanessa Trevelyan in her study, and
Nottingham City museums and Art gallery survey.
Almost all the interviewees were either unhappy or unaware of the
facilities provided within the museum. These non-visitors felt
that they would be more interested in visiting the museum if certain
facilities were provided.
“I will not visit it since I am not able to do so. My son
told me that there are no facilities for old people there. He
told me that there is no toilet for public and especially for
disabled ones, like me. He also informed me that there is no
place to sit or to take some refreshments and no one can guide
(Telemachos, 75, retired farmer)
The mobility problem was not only mentioned by elderly people but
also mothers with the children and people with other disabilities.
This shows that poor mobility facilities genuinely discourage a
number of different types of visitors, and that efforts should
be made to provide proper mobility for them.
“I would suggest reconstruction of the museum surroundings. The museum
must support the access and the mobility inside.”
(Vassilis, 43, Farmer)
“The museum entrance and some inside areas must be reconstructed or repaired
in order to be accessible to the people with disabilities or the elderly people.”
(John, 24, postgraduate)
leisure facilities: Toilets, Cafe, a Shop … and ‘not only’
One of the reasons that make Archaeological Museum
of Tinos is suitable for this type of study is the poor facilities
inside the museum building. Many responses support this point,
since museum building does not have its public toilet. Non-visitors’
responses indicated many facilities as “good to have”,
but they insisted on basic facilities that should be provided in
all museums (Hood’s, Trevelyan’s and Nottingham’s researches actually
consider the importance of facilities inside the museums).
“I think there should be more facilities provided by the
museum, e.g. toilets, baby changing room … and some place to
sit and have refreshments.”
(Anna, 39, housewife)
“I would not recommend this museum to other people, because
there is a lack of many facilities”.
(Katerina, 39, undergraduate)
“It is not renovated so many years. Latest facilities are
missing like electronic screens, digital image displays etc.
as well as some basic facilities like toilets, cafe, museum shop
(John, 24, Postgraduate)
This response raises the issue of government funding to provide
for the basic needs of the visitors that are currently lacking
in the museum. Other facilities people mentioned, according to
their understanding and needs, include a cafe, museum shop, children’s
area, community or social event hall etc. Some people do not feel
it necessary to have children’s area, but mothers insist on it.
They feel that this would make the museum experience more enjoyable
for both themselves and their children, as it would provide an
area for the children to play and allow them to enjoy the museum
by themselves, and that it would also encourage the children to
want to visit. (Trevelyan in her report mentions that this is one
of the main reasons that stop people from visiting the museums).
“That is not proper place to stay for a while as I have young children
(8 and 2 years old) and I need, at least, toilet for them if I want to stay
for few hours. Also, as far as I know, there is no playroom or a place to relax
and take rest.”
(Anna, 39, housewife)
A children’s area is good attraction for the people who spend most
of their leisure time with their children.
“I spend time with my children”.
(Anna, 39, housewife)
“I take care of my grandchildren”.
(Sophia, 60, retired teacher)
A Cafe was suggested by many interviewees for many reasons; some
found it as part of culture, for others it is a place to take a
break, for the elderly it’s a place to sit and rest.
“I would visit the museum more often if there was a cafe at least.”
(Helen, 29, lawyer)
“My son informed me that there is no place to sit or drink something.”
(Telemachos, 75, retired farmer)
“I would not visit the museum again because it is the same all these years
and it cannot compete other entertainment attractions like going to Cafe, go
for swimming etc.”
(Panayiota, 25, Historian of Art)
Museum shops, although considered normal in UK museums (Nottingham
research shown that the audience of UK have the need of better
and more advanced shops in the museums),
are not common in local museums in Greece, but responses show that
people are aware of this missing facility in the museum, since
museum shops play a great role in the interaction with audience.
People who visit bigger museums mentioned repeatedly that every
museum should have shop where museum could sell objects, replicas,
“A nice change in the museum could be a shop with gifts, especially replicas
of most popular exhibits.”
(Loucia, 40, employee)
Some interviewees brought up the idea of providing community hall
for social events or educational seminars in order to involve local
people into the museum activities and make them feel connected
with the day to day life of museum.
“In order the museum to be more attractive to general public, it should
be more educational. There should be some exhibitions in combination with recent
history of the island, and the museum should provide documentaries about Tinos,
or even lectures could be done in museum’s environment.”
(Panayiota, 25, Historian of Art)
“[…] a modern guide book in simple language, so the people can easily understand
them… also some seminars about the exhibits and the history of the island.”
(Nikos, 37, Librarian)