Note: This post is part of my “Museums Project“, a collection of 200+ high-concept ideas for museums.
You show up and the person at the front desk takes your ticket. Then someone comes and taps the front desk worker on the shoulder and tells them it’s time to go.
The front desk worker turns to you and says “You work here now”. They take off their jacket and badge and hand them to you.
Somehow it is explained to you what to do. Maybe there are simple written instructions behind the desk. Maybe they say “Take tickets until you are tapped on the shoulder”.
The next visitor comes up to the counter and you take their ticket. Someone comes from the back. But instead of tapping you on the shoulder, they take the next visitor and say “you work here now”. That person is taken away and given a job to do elsewhere.
There’s no one in line now. You are just standing there for a while.
Maybe a fake customer comes in and acts like you work there and then you have to wing it. They finally give you a ticket.
Or maybe it’s open to the public and you have to actually explain it to real people.
Maybe your role changes. You become a docent. How do you know what to say? They give you a headset and you repeat what is says to visitors on your docent tour. There is someone live helping you answer questions from the visitors. Maybe that person who is live is standing right next to you. Maybe that person is the same as the tourist who asked the questions.
Maybe on the website there are two types of tickets: “You work here now” and “You visit here now”. That way you know what you are getting into. Those that prefer to watch others have the experience can get the “You visit here now” tickets. Maybe they are completely passive and free to do as they like. Maybe there are instructions for them as well, but fewer and much less participatory. For example, maybe they are told they have to follow this docent’s tour.
Maybe it is obvious to those “who work here now” who the other “work here now” workers are and who the true employees of the museum are. Or maybe not. Maybe sometimes they can’t tell the difference between the “you visit here now” and themselves. For example, if the premise of the “work” is to be a plant (ie, fake visitor) in the tour to help bring up the level of enthushiasm or lead it a certain way. My guess is that people will enjoy more clarity and want to know who is part of which of the three groups.