Accessible Marketing

Marketing a Town

by Judith Hutchinson

As any Destination Marketer worth their salt will tell you it sure helps if the local people have a little pride in where they live. They are/can be the best ambassadors.

The new Experience Barnsley Museum is certainly a great way of injecting a little local pride into the town of Barnsley.   Situated in the Town Hall, the visitor attraction opened its doors in June this year and by August had welcomed over 28,000 visitors.  And judging by the reviews to date on TripAdvisor is going down well with the locals.

The first thing I noticed when I visited was the community feel – the visitors were predominately ‘locals’ (judging by the fab Barnsley accents I heard) and many were clearly using this as a community space – the cafe as a place to meet and eat, the learning lab was busy with a children’s activity event and there were plenty of people browsing around the exhibits taking in all that the town has to shout about.  During my visit I overheard a Grandmother commenting to her Grandson that she would ‘Need to come back every day for a year to appreciate everything’ She was clearly enjoying her visit!

Overtime I would anticipate that the changing exhibitions (there’s a tonne of other stuff in the archives – trust me I had a backstage tour a few months ago!) will encourage revisits and word of mouth and the VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market will help with new visitors.

Next step for the museum, in my opinion, is to be using itself as a springboard for other attractions in the region.  At the moment the TIC/Visitor Centre is cleverly disguised as a shop and the only leaflet rack I saw was hidden in a corner.  Watch this space people….Barnsley is a diamond in the rough (a beautiful black diamond for those in the know!) and Experience Barnsley certainly reveals a gem!

Here are some pics from my visit.

Marketing a Town

The Barnsley Wall recalls thousands of years of Barnsley history and the stories of countless people who lived here. Visitors can look, read, listen and touch to uncover the layers of Barnsley’s past.

Marketing a Town

This is the area where children can get involved and dress up as different characters from the past

Marketing a Town

A day out in Barnsley Game – different visitor interpretationWhilst there are some glass cabinets I’m happy to report their contents were interesting!

Marketing a Town

One Barnsley Address showcases Barnsley over the centuries using videos of actors representing real people. It was a very popular area.

Marketing a Town

Videos of the people of Barnsley telling visitors how they envisage the future

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