A land of opportunities for museums

How can we make the Utrecht musea more meaningful to people who visit the city and what can we do to make visitors come back more often.

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Competition for museums

Utrecht attracts yearly over 800.000 visitors to the different museums that the city has to offer. It’s getting increasingly harder to stand out as the competition for attention increases. This is also experienced by the museums of Utrecht.

Cooperation in Utrecht

We looked at the opportunities for museums to, also in the future, connect with their visitors. The Central Museum of Utrecht, Museum Catharijneconvent and the Archive of Utrecht were partners in this project. All three museums are located in the Museum Quarter, the center of Utrecht in which several museums can be found.

Shadowing tourists in the heart of Utrecht, resulted in some surprising insights.

Approach - Museums of Utrecht

Shadowing museum visitors

We started with an explorative field research. For several days we followed visitors of museums in Utrecht with a photocamera. In this way we literally pictured the road towards a museum including the ‘hotspots’ and the obstacles. We developed postcards with research assignments that provided insights in what a successful city visit needs.

Bringing concepts to live

Based on the insights that were gathered from the research, we organized co-design workshops. The workshops were held together with experts from the museums to create new concepts. From all the different concepts that were developed, two have been selected during the workshops. These two concepts were made tangible in the form of service scenarios.

Visiting a museum is often part of a full day-trip. That’s where you can find opportunities.

Results - Museums of Utrecht

The DeCentral Museum

The DeCentral Museum uses Utrecht’s existing hotspots in a smart way. The DeCentral Museum introduces tourists to the museums by exhibiting little parts of their collection at the right locations in the city: the places that naturally attract tourists.

Recognizability of Museum Quarter

The concept ‘Recognizability of Museum Quarter’ focuses on bringing the Museum Quarter of Utrecht to live, suiting the experience of the museum visitors. The concept makes people aware of the characteristic elements of the heart of Utrecht, that truly shape the Quarter area.


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31Volts [Service Design]