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  • 1.  Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-01-2021 02:55 PM
    St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, a non-profit arts organization is looking for guidance on what's the best practice to communicate museum locations to our visitors.  St. Petersburg, Florida is lucky to have 12 museums clustered near its downtown.  The arts organization, in its role of supporting cultural tourism, would like to help tourists navigate to those museums.  

    Do you print and distribute maps?  Do you rely on digital maps?  What is the most effective driver of foot traffic to your museum?  Is what you do more effective with one demographic vs. another?

    Mary Anna (in my role as board chair)
    Mary Anna Murphy
    MAM Exhibit Design
    Designing cool exhibits for 20 years!

  • 2.  RE: Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-02-2021 09:19 AM
    I have seen many places experimenting with arcsgis storymapping to create maps that are a compendium of institutions, places, and or things. Some examples below:

    At the Lowe Art Museum we recently migrated to a digital map for way-finding and general overview information. We worked with CultureConnect on this. The museum has found the migration to digital to be useful. We are able to make in time updates and changes related to temporary exhibitions and or new acquisitions. The digital map is also cost effective as we do not need to run prints whenever we make updates/changes and this leans in to a more sustainable model as well where paper maps are no longer thrown out or left in the museum. We have placed a QR code onto admission stickers that drives people directly to the digital map using their own personal mobile device. Lowe Digital Map.

    Mark Osterman, Ed.D.
    Digital Experience Manager and Head of Education
    Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami
    Coal Gables, FL

  • 3.  RE: Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-03-2021 07:19 AM
    Hello Mary Anna,

    Many visitors to your area will be using their phone's Google Maps to locate places they want to visit (i.e., "Hey Google (or Siri), where's the nearest museum.")  To increase foot traffic and general visibility, consider hiring a Google Trusted Photographer to add professional 360° photos to your map listing under the "by owner" tab.  They can also link the separated properties together on Google Maps, which would encourage touring of them as a whole.

    Google Map Listing for St. Petersburg Art Alliance 

    Good Luck,

    Loren Ybarrondo

  • 4.  RE: Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-02-2021 10:31 AM
    Hi Mary Anna, 

    Your post reminded me of a few of our clients and the ways they promote their venues and tours. First, is the City of Medicine Hat. They have a project called Downtown Stories and they have promoted it in some creative ways: QR codes on restaurant coasters, and lots of QR codes on signage. I've heard they plan to partner with a local bakery who will put the QR code on cookies too. The QR code leads to a smartphone tour. Here is the link: City of Medicine Hat Downtown Stories Tour. (It is best viewed on a mobile phone.) Here is an article about their project:  Downtown Stories a new heritage experience in Medicine Hat.

    An example of a more interactive map is a digital map used at the Cincinnati Nature Center.  This map uses GPS technology where a visitor can access a site map as an overlay in Google Maps. As the visitor moves through the property, they are shown as a blue dot on the map. Here is a link to the Cincinnati Nature Center digital map:

    Both of these examples are created with Guide by Cell technology, but I'm sure you can find many vendors who provide similar products.  

    Best of luck to you!

    Kim Peterson
    Content Marketing Specialist
    San Francisco CA

  • 5.  RE: Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-02-2021 12:14 PM
    Hi Mary Anna,
    If you end up pursuing digital maps, then I'd love to chat. Artwork Archive has an interactive map feature. Your artworks and locations are automatically synced and shown on a map from your art collection management system. 

    Community members can see what is at a location, learn about the individual artworks with didactic text and additional images, and can pull up GoogleMap directions straight from the page. You can also create QR codes to direct traffic to these pages as well. 

    Best of luck with your research!


    Elysian McNiff Koglmeier
    (978) 290-2732

  • 6.  RE: Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-03-2021 11:04 AM
    Hello Mary Anna and all,

    Having consulted with Museums for more than 25 years throughout the U.S. and Canada, I / we have found that Museum maps do not do a good job in locating, advertising and promoting there visitor dining and retail stores. Some have nothing noted and some only have like a 'knife and fork' but do not provide the visitor any description, menu, pricing, photos, etc. which can be done if it is accessed on the visitor's handheld device of course.

    These are important 'earned income' areas and I assume because they are visitor amenities, per se and not core Museum collection items they do not always get the attention deserved.

    Same is true for Map on Museum's website and section on website that is a very well done Visitor Dining and Store sections that attract visitor interest and participation. VERY, VERY important.

    It is easy to look at other Museum (and, Aquarium and Zoo) websites to see industry best (and not so good) practices in this regard. If one or both of these services is outsourced to operators, then the operators can and should help the institution, including financially with advertising, promotion, design, art work, etc. in this regard.

    Good luck and if any questions, please feel free to email or call me. No cost/charge of course, if you want to talk or have questions.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Art Manask
    Art Manask Consulting
    818 358-3588

  • 7.  RE: Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-04-2021 09:39 AM
    Hi Mary, If I were looking to help audiences locate 12 downtown museums, I'd first make sure each museum had an accurate and up-to-date listing in Google Maps and Apple Maps. (Everyone already has a map in their pocket, and it's hard to get people to download apps, etc.) There are steps that venues can take to claim their listing, and improve their ranking when visitors search in both Google Maps and Apple Maps. Add photos, website links, keep hours up to date. Be sure to add separate listings for museum stores and restaurants, too. Once I had that covered, I'd think more about wayfinding apps, interactives, etc. 

    Best wishes, Chad

    Chad Weinard
    Museum technologist + experiences + strategy

  • 8.  RE: Seeking best practices in museum maps

    Posted 11-04-2021 10:18 AM
    Edited by Steve Cencula 11-04-2021 10:22 AM
    Hi Mary Anna! 

    I love St Petersburg, I've been there about a dozen times to visit my dad who used to live there. I'm very familiar with the close proximity of the cultural institutions. 

    It looks like you already have lots of great advice here. While having a printed map at the museum is a good idea for access reasons (for any folks without a mobile device), it's safe to say that most folks are using their phones to explore the area. Take a look at something we created here in Cleveland- It's a self-guided tour for historic Lake View Cemetery. It's a 3D interactive map that uses GPS to indicate your location, as well as the distance between points of interest (can also be helpful for accessibility in case folks need to consider walking or driving). You can connect a variety of media to each point of interest (videos, audio, photos, etc), and it would all be fully branded to your colors, fonts, and aesthetic.

    You can also create several tour routes if you wanted to appeal to select audience interests, say for example, a tour that explores international art, or one focused more on American art and history, etc. Could be a really cool marketing tool for visitors looking for a more curated experience around town. 

    If you'd like more advice on this, happy to chat with no obligation or charge, just shoot me an email. 

    Best regards,
    Steve Cencula, Founder + CTO 

    Steve Cencula
    Founder + CTO
    Cleveland OH