Imperial War Museum Image of Social Interpretation Blog title

We now have QR codes! Come visit!

While this blog has been keeping you up to date on project development and how social interpretation fits into A Family in Wartime exhibition, we haven’t given you much info on how the project feeds in to the wider marketing campaign for the exhibition.

The truth is that it doesn’t. Or rather, it hasn’t. Yet. A visitor does not necessarily equal a user (which you may recall Tom has discussed previously).  It’s my job to attract visitors to the museum and the exhibitions. To promote A Family in Wartime we identified two target audiences. These were families with children aged 8 – 11 based in London and the South East of England, and adults aged 60+ who are interested in family history.  Through previous marketing research we know that these audiences like to engage with our collections through personal stories that enhance their visit, so are a perfect match for SI’s aims. But are they all users? No. Would they all be users if we changed our messaging to focus on social interpretation? No.


A new form of interpretation is usually not enough to encourage people to invest the time, money and effort to make a visit. Like all museums and galleries, it’s the exhibition’s content that is king.

But I think we’re all aware of this. One of the key points of Social Interpretation is to deepen engagement with the exhibition’s content using new technology that our visitors are comfortable using. The user-facing elements of Social Interpretation are embedded within the exhibition. Our audiences are already using the kiosks and QR codes. They are leaving comments and engaging with the exhibition and its featured objects as they would do with any other type of interpretation or interactive that seeks to generate content from its users.

When we start to roll out the mobile app later this year it will nicely complement the existing offer, and will be one of several messages already included in the campaign. To accompany A Family in Wartime there is new book, a new shop, a free events program running throughout 2012 and related social media activity. These all form key messages and it is up to us to consider each one as we further develop and implement our marketing campaign.

In the opening month we’ve successfully managed to attract many visitors, especially those from our target audiences. We’re now busy developing the existing campaign artwork and looking at the opportunities to promote the exhibition with all the high profile events and activities in London this summer.  A Family in Wartime will be open throughout 2012, and we will be keeping the momentum of the initial campaign activity going over the coming months. This is probably the most challenging part as we all move on to other projects now the exhibition is open.

However, the comments generated by the SI kiosks, plus press coverage, the events program and the launch of the mobile app will help create many opportunities over the coming months. So, keep your eyes peeled and let us know if you see the campaign on your travels. Better yet, come and visit the exhibition this summer to see what all the fuss is about.

David Salmon
Marketing Officer

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