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UAL Research Online

'Escaping to the Gallery': understanding the motivations of visitors to galleries

Slater, Alix (2007) 'Escaping to the Gallery': understanding the motivations of visitors to galleries. International Journal of Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 12 (2). pp. 149-162. ISSN 14654520

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Slater, Alix

There are a limited number of studies of museum and gallery visitors in the public domain in a sector that relies on data from market research companies and studies that have often focused on socio-cultural factors. This study draws on motivational theories and methodologies from the wider leisure sector to examine the motivations of visitors to events held in 2003/04 in one of the UK’s busiest galleries.

In contrast to earlier studies that have asked visitors the reason why they visited the gallery, this research built on an earlier exploratory piece of work at another London based site where items were used to develop a multi-dimensional scale, with content and construct validity to measure specific and general leisure motivation. The sample was comprised of visitors attending gallery events. This group are normally ignored in visitor studies and the response rate was between 70% and 100% depending on the type of event. This paper is significant for a number of reasons. A three-factor structure was identified, supporting previous research; however escapism was the core motive, something that had not been previously identified. In a society where traditional museum and gallery visitors are becoming cash rich and time poor these findings are not entirely surprising and support some of the ideas outlined in the Henley Centre’s (2000) report. The research is also important to museums in relation to their marketing communications strategy. Increasing pressure on leisure time of the traditional museum visitor is potentially a threat to museums in the medium term and something that their staff need to consider.

The findings from this paper were originally presented at a Marketing Colloquium. An outcome of this paper has been a chapter in a book, “Marketing Museums: A global perspective for the Information Age”, published in May 2007.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: RAE2008 UoA63
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 1 May 2007
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1002/nvsm.282
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 23:56
Last Modified: 05 May 2015 10:28
Item ID: 1411
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1411

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