Thursday, November 4, 2010

New entrance at NGA

The new entrance and galleries at the National Gallery of Australia trigger some thoughts about the visitor experience.

Firstly, the new entrance is visible from the street and easy to find from the car parks. It sounds simple, but the previous entrance failed this test. 

As well as being visible, the entry provides shelter which is a transition between outdoors and the interior. Even on a fine day, a sheltered porch conveys a sense of welcome. On hot, cold, windy and wet days, this welcome is even more important.

New entrance to National Gallery of Australia

The cafe umbrellas and trees beside the entrance provide a contrasting human-scale social zone that invites visitors to linger and enjoy conversation. Our research has shown that the conversations that follow a museum/gallery visit play an important role in synthesising the experience and consolidating learning.

Of course, the simple pleasure of relaxing outdoors with companions also enhances the experience of a museum/gallery visit.

I am coming to think that the pleasure of being there is at the core of most successful visitor experiences.

Contributed by Gillian Savage

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