Museum Marketing: Implications For Extending the Current Literature

ABSTRACT - There is no theory of marketing specific to the situation of museums that considers the importance of consumer behaviour in museum operations. This research seeks to explain the role of the museum context in the development of a museum marketing theory. The current literature relating to marketing museums will be reviewed, including McLean’s (1994) model. The five elements identified by McLean will be reviewed and implications for further study will be examined, including potential consumer research. Application of current marketing theory to the museum context will be explored and implications for extending the literature will be discussed.



Citation:

Samfya Cox, Jennifer Radbourne, and Paula M. Tidwell (1998) ,"Museum Marketing: Implications For Extending the Current Literature", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, eds. Kineta Hung and Kent B. Monroe, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 180-187.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, 1998      Pages 180-187

MUSEUM MARKETING: IMPLICATIONS FOR EXTENDING THE CURRENT LITERATURE

Samfya Cox, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Jennifer Radbourne, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Paula M. Tidwell, University of South Australia, Australia

ABSTRACT -

There is no theory of marketing specific to the situation of museums that considers the importance of consumer behaviour in museum operations. This research seeks to explain the role of the museum context in the development of a museum marketing theory. The current literature relating to marketing museums will be reviewed, including McLean’s (1994) model. The five elements identified by McLean will be reviewed and implications for further study will be examined, including potential consumer research. Application of current marketing theory to the museum context will be explored and implications for extending the literature will be discussed.

INTRODUCTION

Concern has been expressed by a number of authors that there has been a lack of adequate empirical study into the variables of marketing (Kent 1986; Christopher, Payne & Ballantyne 1993; Bradford 1994; McLean 1994b). Critics such as Bradford (1994) believe that a significant proportion ofmarketing theory is based on speculation rather than observation, and when empirical testing has been done, it has tended to be in large, product-based, profit-making, US organisations. There has been a call for marketing theories to be tested in a variety of different settings (Unvula & Donaldson 1988; Bradford 1994; McLean 1994b). This paper paves the way for empirical research by providing a review of the current literature on the applicability of marketing to a specific type of organisation and one of the variablesBmuseums. In doing so, the possibility of a theory of museum marketing is explored.

The issue of the marketing of museums is informed by several theoretical perspectives. In this paper, various aspects of marketing theory that have an input on this issue are reviewed: services marketing, non-profit marketing, and cultural marketing. Several, apparently contradictory, perspectives of these different aspects are presented. None of these matches the issue exactly; all provide partial insights. Some of the reasons for the imbalance between marketing theory and the marketing of museums in practice are discussed: the complexity of the product associated with museums, the dynamics of change that are re-defining the nature of the product, and the museum context which includes various stakeholder groups who make different kinds of claim on the nature of the product offered by the museum.

It is argued that the changing nature of museums influences, and is influenced by, marketing theory and museum context. The extent and direction of change in museums will influence the degree of acceptance of marketing, and as marketing ideas are used by museums, it is likely that marketing will have an impact on change in museums. Similarly, the recent environmental and organisational changes in museums have resulted in changing emphasis on the various elements of museum context, and various forces from within the museum context are also driving changes in museums.

THE CHANGING NATURE OF MUSEUMS

The International Council of Museums’ definition of a museum is as follows:

A museum is a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, and open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits for the purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of humanity and its environment.

(Ambrose & Paine 1993, p.8)

Museums exist in a variety of forms, but all have two things in common: 'they are about objects and they are about communication’ (Robinson, Bartholomai & Robins 1992, p. 2). From the definition, three specific roles for museums are identified: acquisition and preservation of collection items to keep indefinitely for study and use; research on items in the collection and display or other use of material for information and education of a wider public. These roles often involve a conflict of interests. For example, it is hard to do research on an item if it is on display, and an item may not be effectively preserved if it is handled frequently by current visitors for educational purposes (Robinson, Bartholomai & Robins 1992). The focus of museums on the balance between these different functions is also changing.

Museums were originally focussed on acquiring artefacts; whether people came and saw them, and what they learned from them, was immaterial (Yorke & Jones 1984). The museum’s new role is very much one of communication (Lumley 1988). Lumley believes that the museum has changed: 'it has become a place for visiting exhibitions, eating, studying, conserving and restoring artefacts, listening to music, seeing films, holding discussions, and meeting people’ (1988, p. 1). The notion of conservation and of the museum’s role in society’s development, identified in the definition, implies that a museum’s customers comprise not only the present generation, but are also drawn from future generations. Lumley (1988) expresses the idea of the museum as a time machine. Museums allow people to communicate with others in the past and in the future. Kaplan (1994) sees museums as having the potential to be a powerful force in forging the self consciousness of a nation or community. Museums can therefore be a source of social cohesion, both within existing communities and through time (past, present, future). They can help to define the kind of people we are and provide a source of pride in past achievement.

In order to achieve these objectives, the museum must effectively communicate with its public. Consumers have been ambivalent in their support of museums. While many museums have emphasised breaking down economic barriers consumers may have toward museum attendance through reduced entry fees, social and cultural barriers to museum visitation continue to exist among certain consumer segments (Heinich 1988; Hooper-Greenhill 1988).

Museum managers, in general, know little about their visitors apart from attendance figures (Hooper-Greenhill 1988; Yorke & Jones 1984). The reasons that people visit museums, their expectations, and the experience they have are largely unknown by most museum managers (McLean 1994a). From the definition, museums are in the service of society, but those who are responsible for their management do not really know what society wants or expects from museums. One might suppose that marketing would be welcomed by museums because marketing is a body of knowledge dealing specifically with issues of improving the match between what consumers want and what producers provide. This is not a trivial issue because of the complex and changing nature of the product provided by the museum, and the involvement of many stakeholder groups (including some recognised by the museum but not yet in existence, such as future generations) with different interests. A market orientation would enable museums to understand better the needs of their stakeholders and respond to them more adequately.

MARKETING APPLIED TO MUSEUMS

Marketing is sufficiently flexible to adapt to new situations. The history of marketing shows that its focus has changed considerably evolving through a commodity focus, an institutional focus, a functional focus, a managerial focus, and a social focus (Koter 1972).

Marketing essentially consists of (1) a consumer need, (2) satisfaction of this need, (3) a link between the company and the consumer, and (4) optimisation of profits (Colbert 1994). The term profit optimisation is used because modern economic theory suggests that, even for commercial organisations, profit maximisation is not an adequate description of the behaviour of firms. Profit is less a goal of business than a means by which organisations can achieve their objectives (Levitt 1983; Cyert 1988; Colbert 1994). The essential goal of marketing may therefore be of relevance to museumsCthat of optimising the relationship between companies and their customers, and maximising their mutual satisfaction (Colbert 1994).

Marketing, however, has not been widely accepted by museums. Many museum workers resist marketing because they are fearful that by giving customers exactly what they want, museums will lose sight of their mission and simply be concerned with meeting the public’s every whim (Moore 1994; Lewis 1994; Yorke & Jones 1984). This need not be the result of applying marketing to museums. The frequent antipathy of arts professionals to marketing may be due to a misconception of the kind of contribution that a marketing approach can make towards the realisation of their objectives. Scheff (1993) distinguishes what marketing is and what it is not: the objective of marketing is not to educate or to change values, rather the ultimate goal of marketing is to influence behaviour, and when properly applied, is beneficial to all parties involved.

Nevertheless, there is no theory specific to marketing museums. However, various aspects of marketing theory do contribute to an overall marketing perspective of the issue faced by museums, including services marketing, non-profit marketing, and cultural marketing. Museum marketing can be considered to locate at the intersection of these three sub-disciplines of marketing, as shown in Figure 1.

SERVICES MARKETING APPLIED TO MUSEUMS

Services marketing is a relatively recent area of marketing. Service organisations are seen to differ in a number of respects from manufacturing organisations (Lovelock 1991), and most marketing academics concur that services marketing is different to goods marketing (Edgett & Parkinson 1993). There are four generally accepted differences between goods and services: intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity and perishability. These distinctive characteristics of services are the key issues in services marketing.

Museums offer a service (McLean 1994). However, there are some inconsistencies when services marketing theory is examined in the specific context of museums (McLean 1994b). The product offered by museums has both tangible and intangible elements. Museums are essentially object-based organisations, and objects are tangible, although emotions that the objects evoke, or the experiences, are intangible (McLean 1994b). The generally accepted 'product’ of a museum is the experience. However, this may not be the 'product’ for every visitor. That is, the museum’s product is complex with elements ranging along Shostack’s product/service continuum from pure product to pure service, such as the cafT, the shop, and the cultural experience (McLean 1994b).

The service experience in a museum may be inseparable from the provider, a staff member. However, the visitor can define the inseparbility by deciding what to consume (McLean 1994b). McLean (1994b) suggests that the interaction between buyer and seller is not straightforward in a museum, that it is complex and can take a number of different forms. Heterogeneity is evident in museums. It is difficult to achieve standardisation of the museums’ services because of variations in the type and size of collections, the location of museums, and their staff (McLean 1994b). Even within a single museum, the customer samples the collection in different ways, such as following a different route, experiences a subset of possible experiences, terminates the experience at different times, and the experience of successive visits will differ. Finally, the museum experience is perishable in that it cannot be stored. However, McLean (1994b) suggests that the experience is not irrevocably perishable as it may be possible to recreate the experience through future visits.

It is generally accepted that the traditional marketing mix (the four Ps of product, price, place and promotion) is not comprehensive enough for services marketing, and that the extended marketing mix should be used. The mix has been expanded to seven Ps, to include 'people’, 'process’ and 'physical support’ (McLean 1994b).

The product of services marketing is more complex than goods marketing, yet the product of museums reaches a still higher level of complexity. It is difficult to define what the core product is for museums because it is different things to different people. 'Experience’ is generally regarded as the product, however, some visitors may go to a museum with the primary purpose of going to the cafT or for social acceptance (McLean 1994b). That is, visitors to the museum define the product (McLean 1994b).

The product of the service organisation and the process by which the product is created and delivered to the customer are inextricably linked, because the customer will witness the process as she or he receives the product (Lovelock 1991). In a museum, for example, the product of education is closely linked with the process through which education is delivered. The service delivery can be variable because of the heterogeneity of services and the inseparability from the service provider (McLean 1994b). An additional issue with the process of delivering a service in museums is the political dimension. McLean (1994b) suggests that because many museums are run by local government, politics can enter decision making, and as a consequence, producer interests may be put before customer interests.

People are an integral part of the product and process elements of the services marketing mix. The service provider and the service are inseparable. McLean (1994b) suggests, however, that visitors have little contact with some museum personnelCcustomers often come in contact with attendants and shop staff, but often the curators and educationalists operate behind the scenes.

Prices should be set in accordance with the value customers place on the service (Lovelock 1991). Pricing a museum’s service is made difficult by the lack of clarity of what that service is. In some ways museums are seen as a public good. Furthermore, political factors influence pricing decisions in museums, such as the desire to make access to museums free as part of the social wage (Heinich 1988).

Promotion of services informs customers about the offering. Promotion is probably the element of marketing most used by museums. However, the kinds of promotion undertaken by museums are restricted by financial considerations (McLean 1994b). Other important uses for promotion in museums are thus to attract funding and to influence decision makers, such as local government (McLean 1994b).

FIGURE 1

CONCEPTUAL LOCATION OF MUSEUM MARKETING AT THE INTERSECTION OF SERVICE, NON-PROFIT AND CULTURAL MARKETING

The place element in services marketing focuses on the accessibility of the service (McLean 1994b) and the environment in which the service is delivered (McPhail 1994). The location of a museum may be a crucial factor in the purchase decision, but a museum cannot easily relocate (McLean 1994b). The building in which the museum is housed may be restrictive in terms of accessibility or expansion, and ay create an inappropriate image for the museum (McLean 1994b).

In terms of the seventh P, physical support, the tangible aspects of a service should be stressed to create an image of the intangible product (McLean 1994b). For a museum, a tangible aspect may be the cafT food or memorabilia (McLean 1994b). The creation of atmosphere, through scent and sound, can be an effective tool for enhancing the museum experience (McLean 1994b).

The nature of the service in museums is different to that of some service other organisations. Customers are not permitted to take away original artefacts when they leave; they are encouraged to experience a relationship with different artefacts when in their presence and can take away replicas such as photos, guide books, and memorabilia. An important function of most museums is the preservation of artefacts, that is, a concept of product (tangible even though untouchable) is an important aspect of the museum’s context.

In conclusion, the discipline of services marketing offers several insights into the marketing of museums. However, museums also have the characteristic of being generally non-profit organisations. This situation is not addressed in services marketing theory. The body of marketing that relates to non-profit marketing is addressed next.

NON-PROFIT MARKETING

Non-profit marketing is the second discipline identified in Figure 1. Kotler and Levy first proposed 'broadening the concept of marketing’ to encompass the non-business sector in 1969. They proposed that 'marketing is a relevant discipline for all organisations insofar as all organisations can be said to have customers and products’ (quoted by Kotler 1972, p. 4).

Kotler and Andreasen (1991) advocate the strategic marketing planning process as the way of doing marketing in non-profit organisations. The strategic marketing planning process introduces the concept of a mission for the organisation and the existence of multiple publics to be served. Traditionally, museums’ missions are quite didactic and pedagogicalBthey are based on what their experts believe current and future audiences need to, or should, know (Ames 1994). Mission and marketing, however, are not incompatible. Rather, the museum’s mission represents a constraint within which marketing must operate (Ames 1994; Lewis 1994).

Non-profit organisations have two distinct groups they need to market to: customers and funders (Kotler & Andreasen 1991). Museums often cannot survive on income generated by visitors, and so rely on funding from external sources. Therefore, marketing is needed to persuade funders and encourage continuing and expanded funding. McLean (1994a) states that there is little recognition of this concept in the museum marketing literature. Museums rely on external agencies for things other than financial support, such as recognition and moral support (McLean 1994).

While Kotler and Andraeson’s (1991) theories of non-profit marketing are useful for understanding the process of marketing in a non-profit organisation, it does not address the issues specific to museums and the marketing of them. Museums differ from many other non-profit organisations in the peculiar relationship between product and service; the justification of keeping the product intact, for example, for future generations who might appreciate it more; and the importance of the museum-provider as a stakeholder quite apart from the value attached to customers (even if there were no customers, some museums would still ofer a product).

CULTURAL MARKETING

Kotler and Andreasen (1991) emphasise the importance of a customer orientation for all organisations. They criticise many non-profit organisations for having a product orientationCthese organisations are seen to be in love with their product, convinced of its value even if the organisation’s publics are not, and unwilling to make any modifications to the product. Kotler and Andreasen (1991) cite the example of a museum that continues to display works of art that attract no interest or attention. Colbert (1994) differs with Kotler and Andreasen’s view that a product orientation is inappropriate and believes that some arts and cultural organisations should have the product as the centre of the organisation’s existence.

FIGURE 2

CRITERIA FOR DISTINGUISHING CULTURAL ENTERPRISES

Colbert (1994) distinguishes different types of cultural organisations in terms of the orientation of the organisation’s mission and the way 'works of art’ are produced in the organisation. The subsequent matrix is shown in Figure 2.

The orientation of the organisation’s mission can be positioned on a continuum from market focus to product focus. Colbert (1994) explains that a product focussed organisation would state its product as its reason for existence, while a market-oriented organisation focuses on its customers. Production of the work of art consists of unique products not intended to be reproduced (prototype production), such as a sculpture, at one end of the continuum, and items that are mass produced from a prototype (reproduction of prototype), such as a film or book, at the other extreme.

Quadrant 1 represents what Colbert (1994) terms the 'arts sector’, that is, a product focussed enterprise producing unique products, usually small and non-profit. In quadrant 3 are market-centred organisations that reproduce a product. These organisations are profit-generating and include most cultural industries (Colbert 1994). Quadrant 4 includes Broadway productions, and consists of companies that produce unique items but are market focussed. Quadrant 2 refers to product-centred organisations that reproduce copies of their work, such as a publisher of a poetry book.

Colbert’s (1994) perception is that organisations that lie in quadrants 1 & 2 of Figure 2, that is, organisations that are essentially product focussed, should follow the marketing model for cultural enterprises shown in Figure 3; organisations in quadrants 3 & 4 are oriented towards their market, so should be marketing in the traditional way shown in Figure 4. The numbers 1 to 6 in Figure 3, and 1 to 4 in Figure 4 indicate the sequence of steps for marketing.

Figure 4 places the market as the starting point for marketing activities. Figure 3 proposes starting with the product, finding groups in the marketplace who would like the product, and developing a mix of the remaining three Ps to meet the market’s needs. This approach to marketing is in direct contrast with Kotler and Andreasen’s (1991) view that all organisations should have a customer orientation and none can be excused for valuing its product above all else. However, Colbert’s view can be justified in the creative arts by identifying the artist or creator of a work of art as part of the market for the product. These people are convinced of the value of the product and unwilling to make modifications to it because the product fully satisfies their own need for self-expression: the product will be generated anyway and, at the extreme, even in the absence of a market other than theoriginator of the product.

Museums are not easily placed in one specific quadrant. Colbert’s (1994) reference to producing works of art may lead to confusion in the museum situation. Artefacts in a museum are often items that have been mass produced, such as crockery or bottles, so may be perceived to be 'reproductions of the prototype’. However, the 'work of art’ in a museum may be the way the artefact is presented, so this may position the museum’s product towards the 'prototype production’ end of the continuum. With the passage of time, even everyday items may acquire the status of works of art because they are no longer functional within the modern 'everyday’ context.

The product offered by the museum is complex, and is in the process of changing. The museum’s 'product’ may represent different things to different people, including the experience created by the objects, a particular item in the collection, and social acceptance (McLean 1994). This confusion over the actual product also makes it difficult to position museums on the market/product view axis. A museum’s reason for existence may be to collect and conserve specific artefacts, such as horse-drawn transport: a product view. However, the same museum may be considered to have a strong market view because of the way it presents the artefacts, its opening hours and its promotional material. Museums have also been gradually shifting along the axis towards a more market view, partly in response to increasing financial demands to cover costs, partly to satisfy emerging demands of amusement, education, and self-realisation using a traditional marketing model.

FIGURE 3

MARKETING MODEL FOR CULTURAL ENTERPRISES

FIGURE 4

TRADITIONAL MARKETING MODEL

Colbert (1994) seems to equate a market orientation with a financial goal. However, it has already been discussed that profit is not necessarily the ultimate objective even of commercial firms. Museums are increasingly becoming more market focussed. As there is a shift along the horizontal axis towards the left hand side of Figure 3, is the traditional model of marketing the solution for museums? This question was discussed in an earlier section and it was concluded that traditional marketing theory is inadequate for marketing museums.

RESEARCH INTO MUSEUM MARKETING

Research by Bradford examined museums that were 'examples of good marketing practice’ in Scotland (1994, p. 45). Research was conducted within the interpretive paradigm, and involved interviews with staff, the collection of written information, and observations (Bradford 1994). Three categories of influences determining the success of museums were identified: management of the museum, including its objectives, staff, collection and exhibition programme; management of the museum’s reputation, in relation to visitors, the local community, the tourist board, and the media; and management of the relationship with patrons, who include sponsors, trustees, grant awarding bodies, and the local authority (Bradford 1994). Bradford uses the term 'patron’ to refer to someone who provides funding. The research emphasised the separation of visitors (with whom the museum is trying to establish a reputation) and those who provide funding (Bradford 1994). Bradford believes that the overall message of his research is that 'museum marketing is different’ (1994, p. 50).

FIGURE 5

CONTEXTUAL MUSEUM MARKETING FRAMEWORK

McLean (1994a) suggests that Bradford’s concept of patrons is inadeqate. Patrons may not fund the museum but may influence museum policy nevertheless. McLean criticises Bradford for not developing the concept of what is marketed by museums. The placement of the curator at the centre of the framework is also a source of concern for McLean, who sees the museum as central. However, despite its limitations, McLean believes Bradford’s curatorial management framework is 'the most helpful model that has been devised for museum marketing’ (1994a, p. 234).

McLean’s (1994a) research involved developing marketing strategies for a number of museums in England, implementing the strategies, and monitoring and evaluating them. From studying the practice of marketing in museums, a number of issues emerged which are linked in a structural framework relating to the museum’s context (McLean 1994a). These issues are the collection, the building, the staff, the organisational mechanisms, and the public (McLean 1994a). These contextual elements of a museum, which will be essential components in any theory of museum marketing, are discussed in greater detail in the next section.

MUSEUM CONTEXT

The elements that make up a museum have been identified by McLean (1994a) as the museum’s collection, the building it is housed in, the staff, the organisational mechanisms, and the public. These are shown in Figure 5. It is proposed that these both constrain and facilitate marketing in museums.

This section describes each of these elements, mainly from McLean’s perspective from research on museums in England. As nearly all articles on museum issues are written by people from large museums, despite three-quarters of the world’s museums employing less than ten people (Hudson 1992), this section will make specific reference to smaller, community museums, where possible.

A museum’s staff are central to the museum’s operations, and are crucial in forming relationships between the museum and the public (McLean 1994a). McLean suggests that a greater understanding and awareness of marketing should be fostered in all staff, including cleaning staff because 'the experience of the visitor may depend more on a clean loo than on the glories inside the museum’.

Staff also include volunteers, who play an essential role particularly in smaller museums (Hinton 1989), but are likely to represent additional challenges in operating the museum.

'Organisational mechanisms’ is a term used by McLean (1994a) to refer to the museum’s internal organisational structure and the external agencies which have an impact on the museum, such as through funding or influence. The internal and external mechanisms are interrelated in that the control of the organisational structure over the museum usually lies in its funding mechanisms (McLean 1994a). Museums rely on external agencies for their survival, so building a relationship with them is an important aspect of a museum’s operations (McLean 1994a). Funding bodies need to be convinced of the value of museums. Most museums experience some level of support from government or the private sector (Lennon 1995). This support is often in-kind support, volunteer or heavily discounted, and is often informal and not well documented (Lennon 1995).

Many smaller museums are organised under committees. There can be conflict if there is not a clear line of authority betwen the committee and the workers Robinson, Bartholomai & Robins 1992).

The public are the focus for museumsCmuseums operate 'for the public benefit’. However, McLean suggests that there is 'no general understanding of what the relationship between the museum and the public actually signifies’ (1994a, p. 245). Questions currently being asked relate to identification of the 'public’, establishing the 'benefit’ and determining the cost of realising the benefit (McLean 1994a).

Few smaller museums can successfully continue without the general interest and involvement of the local community (Robinson, Bartholomai & Robins 1992). Community museums generally concentrate their collections and displays on natural and cultural objects of significance to the local community in terms of volunteer help and donation of objects (McMichael 1989).

In order for a museum to survive and be used by local people, museum workers must get involved with local politics (Lennon 1995; Hinton 1991). However, many community museum workers do not get involved with local politics for fear of losing independence, because they lack knowledge of local government procedures, for fear of professionals being employed, and because of a lack of time and energy to enter the debate (Lennon 1995).

Despite acknowledgment that community museums are of significant cultural importance and provide numerous benefits to the local community, community museums are facing marginalisation (Lennon 1995). Lennon outlines factors contributing to this marginalisation of Australia’s community museums. First, public expenditure on community museums is much less than that on community art galleries and other cultural institutions. This sends a message that art is of value but the objects housed in museums are less so. Second, there is often little recognition of a community museum’s existence by the local community. This is evidenced by a inadequate signposts and poor attendance by local people of influence. Third, the status of the workers is often low. The volunteers are often aged, and feel that their contribution is not appreciated. Fourth, the museum is often perceived by the local community as a dumping ground for unwanted junk, and the museum often does not refuse it. This further contributes to the low status of the museum.

McLean (1994a) suggests that the nature of the collectionCits subject type, scope, size, and financial and cultural value, and the reputation it gives to the museumCis the main factor inducing people to visit a museum. It is the collection that gives a museum its character and distinguishes it from other museums (McLean 1994a; Morton 1988). Many community museums have material of considerable cultural value (Hinton 1989; McMichael 1989). These items are often donated to the local museum because their owners do not want the objects that they value so highly to leave the district (Hinton 1989). The interpretation and presentation of a museum’s collection are important factors for the public and for marketing (McLean 1994a).

The history of the collection, and decisions made by previous curators, will affect present and future decisions about the collection, because items will only tend to be acquired that relate to the collection (Hooper-Greenhill 1988). One result of this may be that the objects displayed may not be consistent with current values (Hooper-Greenhill 1988). Robinson and Robins (1992) suggest that a collections’ policy be actively pursuedCrather than just relying on donations, certain objects or themes should be actively sought.

Museums are likely to encounter problems when deciding to dispose of parts of the collection. Once a donated item is accepted by a museum, it is assumed that the museum will preserve it in perpetuity (Kirby 1988). Selling any of these items can have serious consequences in terms of public perceptions of the museum and access to future donations.

The building that houses a museumCits structure and facilitiesCalso contributes to the public’ image of the museum (McLean 1994a). The buildings were often not designed with the public in mind (McLean 1994a). Hill (1992) points out that there are few community museums in Queensland fortunate enough to have a specifically designed building. With older buildings, attempts are often made to make the building more accessible to the public, but this can be at the expense of preservation (McLean 1994a).

The location of a building can also provide opportunities or constraints. For example, the location of a museum in a particular area may dictate the content of the collection, and the location may also enhance the experience of visitors (McLean 1994a). Other facilities in the building, such as toilets, shops, and cafTs, can provide marketing opportunities (McLean 1994a).

CONCLUSION

The literature review has shown that the issue of marketing in the management of community museums is partially addressed by three sub-fields of marketingCservices marketing, non-profit marketing, and cultural marketing. Discussion in this paper has shown that none of these sub-fields is entirely appropriate and that a marketing theory specific to museums and the sub-set of community museums is required. Museums exhibit characteristics that differentiate them from service, non-profit and cultural organisations. It has been argued in this literature review that any theory, to be of use to museums, should be based in the context of museums. This paper clearly points the way for cutting edge research on consumer behaviour that will lead to the further refinement of marketing theory for museums.

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Authors

Samfya Cox, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Jennifer Radbourne, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Paula M. Tidwell, University of South Australia, Australia



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3 | 1998



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