“Fewer visitors, but not a worry because they are better-engaged”: How do you prove a higher level of ‘engagement’ with museum/heritiage visitors?

Click here for the official statement

“Non-ticketed attendance for heritage events declined in 2012. This was a result of the National Heritage Board (NHB)’s shift from large-scale events to more targeted ones with better quality of engagement.”

By ‘non-ticketed’ I suppose they mean all the free activities that NHB and its museums organise, such as Heritage Fest, Night Festival etc. The statement attributes the drop in attendance to “…shift from large-scale events to more targeted ones with better quality of engagement”.

First, is there such a shift? NHB still seems to put in a lot of energy into these free events, including the horrible (which is not meant to be a compliment) Halloween debacle that ACM puts on every year. 

Second, even if it is true that there may be more programs with “…better quality of engagement”, the problem is how this ‘engagement’ is measured. Yes, Person A may spend 3hrs in a museum and Person B only 1hr, but on what quantitative basis can we say that Person A has been ‘engaged’ more than Person B. 

Perhaps the statement in the website above is the authority preempting the impossible continual climb of NHB’s annual numbers. With NHB reporting higher and higher numbers year on year, someone perhaps has realised that this increment is not sustainable, and has cleverly caused a diversion by saying that even though fewer people have been attending such NHB-events, their ‘quality of visit’ has improved. But watch what NHB will say by the end of 2013, because they are bound to report a significant increase in visitors to the museums due to the free-entry that begun in mid-year. But then again, getting more visitors through the door is not what NHB is after, right? (because at least based on their press release above, they seem to prefer fewer visitors who are more ‘engaged’). 

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3 Comments

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3 responses to ““Fewer visitors, but not a worry because they are better-engaged”: How do you prove a higher level of ‘engagement’ with museum/heritiage visitors?

  1. Anonymous

    Maybe you should do some investigating, try to understand how they gauge engagement. What’s the point of just spouting off your ill-informed opinions? You obviously have a grudge of some kind against the Singapore arts community. Better to let your anger go and find something productive to do. If it must be the arts, perhaps you should contact your minister and the NHB and voice your support for quality over quantity in public arts.

  2. Pingback: Statistics, statistics and damn lies: a harmless accounting trick in the Singapore art/heritage scene? | 23princessroad's Blog

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