5 min

Museums are standing strong in their missions during unforeseen disruptions.

They are utilizing technology to adapt to changing audience needs. Across the globe, museums in the Tessitura community are demonstrating resilience, courage and creativity during COVID-19.

“Free ticketing gives you the opportunity to begin the customer’s journey early. We immediately had better data than we’ve ever had before. And we couldn’t have done it without a partner like Tessitura.” 
— Pete Dickinson, Science Museum Group

When they introduced free, timed ticketing to meet government reopening requirements in 2020, Science Museum Group were making a big operational change from their previous open-door model but able to call on existing Tessitura technology. The outcome was a significantly improved customer journey that enabled SMG to shape a visitor’s online experience to suggest additional items, bring donations seamlessly into the online reservation process and give visitors the ability to share any access requirements they might have.

In addition, automated pre-visit emails ensure each customer receives essential information and opportunities to enhance their visit, contactless scanners check visitors’ tickets safely and an instant feedback loop is now possible via follow-up emails.

Read more about their move to timed ticketing.

Screenshot showing a selection of times to select, a grid of pricing options from Free to £20 donation, and a space in which to list any special access needs.

“This is not just about the past. This is about being a platform, and being a pillar, and being a force for helping ourselves and helping each other have a greater sense of justice and equity.” — Nancy Yao Maasbach, Museum of Chinese in America

Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of Museum of Chinese in America, spoke with Tessitura President & CEO, Andrew Recinos, about the challenges they were facing in 2020. These included a five-alarm fire and intensified racism directed at Asian Americans, all against the backdrop of COVID-19 closures and the Black Lives Matter movement. In their conversation she discussed equity in arts funding and education, the sustainability of small but vital cultural institutions, and volatility on the road to conscience.

“This was an opportunity to make sure we were changing the behavior of our audience in a positive way.”
— Kristie Swink Benson, High Museum of Art

During Capacity Interactive’s 2020 Digital Marketing Bootcamp for the Arts, High Museum of Art’s Director of Communications, Kristie Swink Benson, shared how the Atlanta-based museum made a seamless shift to advance ticketing. An increase from a ratio of 11% advance online ticket buyers prior to the pandemic to 99% today means the High Museum now has data available to them that is helping to fuel more effective marketing.

Read our favorite quotes from 2020 Digital Marketing Bootcamp for the Arts.



“We really focused on providing access to the collection. We worked with marketing to create a really strong program.”
— Nancy Cooper, High Museum of Art

The High Museum of Art also recently launched the new all-digital Museum Pass. Working closely with Tessitura ecosystem partners Donate2 and Cuseum, they executed and delivered a new monthly membership option that provides a digital card on each member’s mobile phone. The $4 per month price aims to eliminate barriers to the museum’s extensive collection and most special exhibitions. “Most people can afford the price of a cup of coffee,” explained Nancy Cooper, the museum’s Membership Manager, explained.

In our joint webinar, Cooper shares a case study and outcomes from this initiative.

“It may seem challenging to engage members during COVID-19, but it can be vital from a financial perspective. In a time like this pandemic, a large member base is really helping fund the Institute right now.”
— Kendall Wimmer, Thanksgiving Point

In our Seven Tips for Reopening Safely, we share how Thanksgiving Point is taking an innovative approach to the logistical considerations of reopening. The article also spotlights how Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Philbrook Museum of Art, and National World War I Museum and Memorial, as well as the Dallas Zoo, are finding a renewed sense of meaning in being able to open their spaces once again.

“People wept. They were holding hands and crying. It was a very emotional experience.”
— Gary Tinterow, Museum of Fine Arts Houston

In May 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston was the first major American art museum to reopen after COVID lockdowns, utilizing timed tickets and limited entry. Museum Director Gary Tinterow shared his thoughts about the attendee reaction with Andrew Recinos: “They wept. People were holding hands and crying. It was a very emotional experience.”

Andrew shares how “arts and culture organizations need to prepare for an experience surge on the other side of COVID” in his article Post-traumatic growth is real.

“We need more joy. We need more happiness. We need more cats. And we need places that will give us hope.”
— Scott Stulen, Philbrook

Philbrook Museum, located in Tulsa, has been meeting the challenge of their COVID-19 closure by leaning into their mission to connect people to art and nature — in numerous new and often fun ways. CEO and President Scott Stulen discusses their creative response to a challenging time in this interview with Andrew Recinos.

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Tessitura Network is proud to work with more than one hundred of the world’s leading museums and galleries. Find out how we are enabling them to maximise the efficiency of admissions, deepen member engagement, and streamline fundraising with our unified CRM platform.


Top photo: Science Museum, London




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