Text topic: Studies
Text author: Биљана Јокић и Ирис Жежељ
This study addresses the fact that during the one night festival “Museum Night”, tens of thousands of visitors find themselves in museums, which stands in sharp contrast to the lack of museum visitors during the rest of the year. Taking into account conceptual differences between festivals and regular museum programs, we examined the obstacles that prevent festival visitors from become regular museum visitors. Using the two stage stratified sample (N=1480) of visitors of the “Museum Night” in Serbia 2012, we identified 39% of those who have never visited a museum during previous twelve months. This allowed for comparison between this group of visitors and the regular museum visitors based on their socio-demographic characteristics and their cultural habits. In addition, we assessed their attitudes towards museums, subjective norms about visiting museums, and perceived barriers for more frequent visits (perceived controlability). The choice of constructs was guided by Ajzen and Fishbein’s Theory of planned behavior (1985; 2011). We analyzed if they could predict (a) intentions to visit museums in the future and (b) visits to the museums in the previous year. The attitude towards museums was proven to be a good predictor of both intentions and past behavior, whilst subjective norms and perceived control were better indicators of past behavior. Results demonstrated that museums were perceived as predominantly educational institutions, with their main image-related drawbacks being lack of dynamics and excitement. In spite of that fact, a significant number of festival visitors did express their intentions to visit museums more often in the future. We discussed how these intentions could be addressed in public communication in order to translate them into behavior. We also suggested how both descriptive and prescriptive norms could be employed to widen potential museum audience and which strategies could improve the image of museums as more proactive and appealing.