In 1998, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) opened as a new kind of national museum – bicultural, cross-disciplinary, innovative, and fun. It soon became the most visited museum in Australasia.
Now, nearly 20 years later, Te Papa has begun a major 5-year transformation to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. It has embraced a new mission – changing hearts, minds, and lives – and new ways of thinking about and involving its audiences, supported by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre. The museum aims to confront tough social and environmental topics in creative, inspiring ways, support safe debate, and empower audiences well beyond their visit.
In these challenging times, many museums are looking for ideas to guide similar transformations, so we’ll explore Te Papa’s redevelopment while it’s happening, and how it is breaking through the fourth wall.
In this session, we examine how the museum is engaging its audiences in dialogue to develop deeper relationships and ensure relevance.
Since opening, Te Papa has invested in significant audience consultation and evaluation. The museum is now asking audiences to input into the redevelopment of its permanent exhibitions as well as touring shows – through forums in the museum, around the country, and online, and via ongoing iterative testing.
Frith Williams of Te Papa shares the methods used in audience consultation, key findings, and how these have been applied.