6.13. People (museum staff, visitors, exhibition mannequins)

We have seen how important social factors are for visitor experience. Museums must carefully select their staff, inform them about the exhibition and train them in visitor management. Even the uniform guards and guides wear may contribute to the message the museum (perhaps unintentionally) transmits. When defining where they will be placed, remember that museum guards are generally avoided by visitors. If they are sitting near an installation, visitors will avoid it. However, hosts and hostesses, explainers and animators – museum staff in charge of engaging visitors in activities that help them better understand what they see – are generally appreciated.

Planning for large groups of visitors entering the halls at the same time is difficult, because their arrival and routes are difficult to foresee. The observation and assessment of the movement of pilot groups before the opening and the evaluation of visitor traffic on the first few days of the show exhibition provides us with valuable information that we may use in (re)designing the exhibition. Finally, the dolls mannequins (human figures of humans included in an installation) are also important for the assessment of the “„human factor” as they tend to make visitors stop and linger for a longer time than most other exhibits.

A male, bearded mannequin with long, uncombed hair.

6.40. picture: If you show a uniform and select an old, worn and torn mannequin to wear it, you may damage the image of that profession. (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

An old fisherman mending a net in front of his hut.

6.41. picture: A successful use of mannequins in an installation: this idyllic image of the life style of man living in synergy with nature is an impressive sight. (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

The face of the old man from the previous picture, shown from below.

6.42. picture: However, if we look at the old man from the angle most small children will see him, his facial features are terrifying! (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

A mannequin in a white robe.

6.43. picture: This doll shows the attractive uniform worn by staff members of the Nuclear Plant in Paks, Hungary. (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

A frivolous female mannequin wearing a feathered bikini.

6.44. picture: This garment symbolises the sexy and flirty atmosphere of the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In sharp contrast with the message of the bikini, the face of the mannequin is lifeless and its motion stiff. (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)