43rd CIMUSET CONFERENCE, Cracow, 6-11 September 2015

CIMUSET CONFERENCE in Cracow will revolve around two topics, which are connected.

A museum, from the very beginning of its existence, has been an art and history sanctuary, a place, where objects of cultural heritage have been collected. Nowadays our perception of this institution is beginning to change: working with a visitor becomes equally important as working with museum pieces.

Results of our work are measured not only by quality of publications and research conducted in the museum, but also by attendance. It is attendance that is often used as a yardstick of effectiveness of museum’s work.

What should we do to assure ourselves this attendance and, at the same time, not to give in to pressure of numbers and reaching high attendance at the expense of quality of our work?
Many questions arise, which could be answered during the conference in Cracow.
Which courses of action are necessary to assure high attendance in science and technology museums? Plenty of less challenging art museums or popular science centres compete with us.

Which actions should be taken to encourage our visitors to return to our museums time and again? What should we do to attract new visitors, who has never been to our museum before? What can we use? Which means to an end are the most beneficial? Do we have them?

What we have are two instruments that cannot be overestimated. These are:
How can we use them creatively?
There are some other questions: whom our habitués should really be, whom should we care for the most? Whom should we strive to gain and who is not likely to visit us regularly, which we are aware of in advance?
It appears we have two levels of thinking of our audience.

First level is what we can do to keep our present audience and expand it by creating such courses of action that encourage to visit the museum again and again (children are growing up, so the exhibition addressed to them “grows up” as well, selfsame topic is expanded).
The other group of our audience are visitors who come to museum just once. How can they be useful for increasing attendance and promoting our museum?
Again, there are two areas of activity:
Financial: sort of financial inducement (give your ticket to a friend, they will buy one of reduced price)
Substantive: construct such good an exhibition, that it will be on one’s memory for a long time and will be recommended by word of mouth.

Each of our museums has some ups and downs in this area. Our meeting in Cracow could become a platform for exchanging good practises, discussing best solutions, exchanging experience.
AUDIENCE: You are invited to submit your presentation

Second proposed topic is closely connected with the first one.
Science and technology museum is a place, where aesthetic experience is not as important as it is in an art museum.
Giving information on objects, presenting their context, objects’ explanation – this is a matter of particular importance to our museums. It can be done by variety of means: posters, descriptions and multimedia, but still, invariably and traditionally, visitors are willing to hire a museum guide.
What do the visitors expect of the guide?
What do the curators expect of the guides?
A guide or an educator, or maybe a facilitator of the discussion?
A source of objective information or museum object interpreter?
A dialogue or a monologue?
Despite hundreds of years of museum existence, in spite of modern media, many of these questions are still valid.
Nevertheless, our conference is open to other topics; you can present the results of your own research on history of science and technology.
A poster session is planed as well.