History Musuems and Historical Societies Lag in Website Development and Marketing

(PRWEB) June 11, 2005 -- History museums, historical societies and historic sites have fallen behind other institutions in their use of internet marketing, concludes a new study from Primary Research Group: The Marketing of Historic Sites, Museums, Exhibits and Archives (ISBN #:1-57440-074-6). This report looks closely at how history is presented and marketed by organizations such as history museums, libraries, historical societies, and historic sites and monuments. The report profiles the efforts of The Vermont Historical Society, Hook’s Historic Drug Store and Pharmacy, The Thomas Jefferson Foundation/Monticello, the Musee Conti Wax Museum of New Orleans, The Bostonian Society, the Dittrick Medical History Center, The Band Museum, the Belmont Mansion, the Kansas State Historical Society, the Computer History Museum, the Atari Virtual Museum, the Museum of American Financial History, the Atlanta History Center and the public libraries of Denver and Evansville. The Study’s revealing profiles, based on extensive interviews with executive directors and marketing managers of the institutions cited, provide a deeply detailed look at how history museums, sites, societies and monuments are marketing themselves.

The Vermont Historical Society uses a grass roots approach to marshal its local area history resources, present them in novel ways, and ultimately win broad public recognition and corporate financial support. The key to the Society’s success was innovative relationship building among local partners such as schools and local historical societies, designed to capture the strengths of each party. Through aggressive and bold grass roots efforts, the Vermont Historical Society has been able to raise $7.5 million for a significant organizational face lift, beating by more than $7 million its prior fundraising records

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, whose major asset is Jefferson’s former plantation, Monticello, demonstrates how a web of relationships can be developed by marketing all of the various and intricate facets of Jeffersonian legacy.

The Bostonian Society not only successfully projects Boston’s Revolutionary War Heritage to its largely non-Bostonian visitor base, but also manages to capitalize on historic figures such as Ted Williams from a less lofty but not less well known playing field. The Society has had particular success with digitizing its extensive photography collection, as have many public libraries. The Denver Public Library, for example, has had a great deal of success in presenting its digitized images of the American West to the broader public. Evansville Public Library, on the other hand, has focused more on an innovative approach to presenting local history through digital mediums.

The Dittrick Medical History Center, housed at Case Western Reserve University, has exploited a major new gift of a historic collection of contraceptive devices, to dramatically increase its web presence. The Museum has had particular success with aggressive cross marketing with healthcare-oriented professional associations, hospitals and other museums in the medical arena.

The Band Museum, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and the Atari Virtual Museum, are mostly one man efforts led by determined individuals who have a love of their subject matter. In both cases, the resulting history museums appealed mostly to important niche audiences that were underserved by existing cultural institutions.

The Belmont Mansion’s grass roots marketing approach emphasizes public programming designed to bring in the patrons and sell them on return trips. Belmont has also benefited from a Tennessee state program to distribute press releases electronically, as well as from approaches to the bank travel market.

The Computer History Museum relies heavily on a vast network of industry contacts to launch what has become one of the premier technology history sites in the country. Targeted marketing through an innovative web site, frequent events and lectures, special programs for important niches, and close relations with a far flung Board of Directors have been its keys to marketing success.

The Museum of American Financial History, based near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, climbed back from the devastation of 9/11 terrorist attacks and rebuilt its relationship with its patrons. In cooperation with 15 other museums in lower Manhattan, the Museum used Federal money specially earmarked for organizations victimized in the terror attacks, to develop a unique marketing campaign. The Museum also emphasizes the cultivation of ties with the press.

The Atlanta History Center, which recently purchased the Margraret Mitchell Site and Museum, has expanded the scope of its operations significantly in recent years. Unlike many historic attractions in recent years, the Atlanta History Center has experienced rapid annual increases in attendance. One of its secrets is to continually present something new, and to turn the Center into a local resource that a core of visitors keeps returning to. The Center uses new exhibits, blockbuster lectures, partnerships with local institutions, privileges for members, aggressive capital expansion, and emarketing and an interactive website, among other strategies and tactics, to keep visitors coming back.

For more information or a review copy contact James Moses at 212-736-2316. The price of the report is $95.00 (paper) and $115.00 for a pdf with rights to print out one copy. Site licenses are also available. The report is available from Primary Research Group, or through major book distributors.

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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/6/prweb245627.htm