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October 25, 2012


Charlie Trautmann

Thank you, Susie, for all of your efforts and posts during this recent series.

I come from a science center environment, where children under 12 and their families constitute our primary audience. We seek to have our guests come often (most of our members visit an average of 3-4x per year). Constant change and innovation is our strategy. We tend to change major areas of exhibits 3x per year and offer a wide variety of interactive floor programs that change weekly, so that guests always know they can come and experience something new.

We have several major interactive science exhibits that most of our guests know and love, but they are not "objects" in the sense of museum collections, and we are not a "collecting museum."

The bottom line is that while many people will cite a physical object as their key memory of a museum, including ours, it is often the personal contacts they have through programs, or the other characteristics, such as easy of access, cleanliness of the restrooms, friendliness of the front desk, etc. that significantly influence their experience and therefore the word-of-mouth promotion by which many museums live and die.

Charlie Trautmann
Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY

Susie Wilkening, Reach Advisors

Thanks for the comment, Charlie. I totally agree . . . the basic, day-to-day, operational tasks, such as cleaning restrooms, greeting guests, etc., set the stage for whatever experience our guests are going to have. If that isn't nailed, the meaningful experiences, the positive social experiences, and the positive learning outcomes are far less likely to happen. Amenities and interactions with staff set the tone for the entire visit.

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