Locals poll low in museum patronage

It would appear only about one quarter of all visitors to the North Otago Museum in January and February were local people, even though they pay for the facility through their rates.

The museum conducted a visitor survey during those months to find out more about those who go to the museum and what they want.

Visitors could voluntarily fill out survey forms and some took part in interviews when temporary staff were available.

Of the visitors who responded to the survey, five were local people, 11 were Australasia-Pacific or international visitors, four were from the South Island and eight were from the North Island.

Most of the visitors were female - 19 compared with 12 males.

About half of those who visited the museum went in "to fill in time", but a good proportion were interested in finding out more about local Maori and European history.

Most of the visitors anticipated the museum would not be very good and had low expectations of what they would see and learn, but found they liked the exhibits and enjoyed the variety of what was on display.

Free entry was a good selling point.

However, many visitors wanted to see exhibitions that were interactive and engaging.

They said the museum needed to be promoted more.

The results of the survey were outlined to the Waitaki District Council's corporate services committee yesterday, with councillors questioning whether more promotion and marketing were needed.

However, museum director Rowan Carroll said the museum had a budget of only $3500 a year for promotion and marketing, relying on press releases and editorial in local newspapers.

She was reluctant to increase marketing until the museum had more to offer.


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