Service designing a museum – service design methodologies applied to museum design

Professional Forum
Sebastian Chan, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Australia, Kimberley Crofts, Meld Studios, Australia

Service design is used to reveal the ways in which customer behaviour, motivations and needs interact with current internal practices, infrastructure, existing products and services, and highlights where there are critical moments, thresholds, and new opportunities for improvement, or entirely new ways of meeting customer needs.

Applied to the museum world, it offers the opportunity to connect up long standing audience-focussed research practices (see Dierking & Falk 2013) with exhibition design, customer service, whilst taking into account the technical infrastructure, the current limits of operating culture, and architectural constraints. Many museums, notably teams at Dallas Museum of Art (see Stein & Wyman 2014, & Stein et al 2015), American Museum of Natural History (see Devine 2015) and Cooper Hewitt (see Chan & Cope, 2015) have applied some elements of these practices in their recent work. However each of these examples have been constrained by either not explicitly addressing exhibition design (Dallas), constraining to digital interactions (AMNH), or based on limited front-end and formative evaluation (Cooper Hewitt).

In 2015 the Australian Centre for the Moving Image embarked on a new strategic direction under the leadership of Katrina Sedgwick. A new leadership team was assembled and ACMI began a multi-year redesign and reimagining project aimed at improving the ways in which the building and its facilities (exhibition spaces, cafes, retail, entrances, education spaces, and large cinemas) were used by the public, along with an expansion of the delivery of its mission remotely through multiple digital channels, touring and offsite public programming.

This professional forum will present the results of customer journey mapping at ACMI, and discuss the benefits, as well as the challenges, of using a ‘whole-of-museum’ strategic design approach.

Chan, Sebastian and Aaron Cope. "Strategies against architecture: interactive media and transformative technology at Cooper Hewitt." MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015. Published April 6, 2015. Consulted October 18, 2015.

Devine, Catherine. "The Museum Digital Experience: Considering the Visitor’s Journey." MWA2015: Museums and the Web Asia 2015. Published August 15, 2015. Consulted October 18, 2015.

Falk, J. H., & Dierking, L. D. (2013). The Museum Experience Revisited. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Gagarin, D., 2014, "Co-designing with the State Library of Victoria: How we did it, and why it paves the way for change", at

Stein, Robert and Bruce Wyman. "Seeing the Forest and the Trees: How Engagement Analytics Can Help Museums Connect to Audiences at Scale." MW2014: Museums and the Web 2014. Published February 1, 2014. Consulted October 18, 2015.

Stein, Robert, Emerald Cassidy, Jonathan Finkelstein, Andrea Fulton, Douglas Hegley, Amy Heibel, Shyam Oberoi, Kate Tinworth and Bruce Wyman. "Scaling up: Engagement platforms and large-scale collaboration." MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015. Published January 30, 2015. Consulted October 18, 2015.