“Zoos are places people go to talk about animals.” Ten years ago I heard the inspirational and much-missed Malcom Whitehead, Head of Discovery and Learning at London Zoo, say that and it has stayed with me. I think he nailed it, not just for zoos but for a whole range of cultural attractions.
I am excited by the idea for the 21st century, museums and other cultural attractions, will be, indeed, need to become, places where people go to talk about art, heritage, science and/or the natural world.
It is exciting living in a decade where people (like Nina Simon, Nicole Deufel, and Regan Forrest – three of my favourite bloggers on the subject) are pushing this idea forward, exploring it and experimenting with it.
Citizen shows that we way we use words and pictures, that mainstay of heritage interpretation really matters. There are lots of words here.
Museums are moving, but slowly. Other heritage attractions are moving too, but probably more slowly. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is moving faster. Attraction managers need to wake up and smell the coffee (which should be real and in a choice of blends, not grey water from the back of the dishwater recycled through a drinks machine).
CitizenM a 21st century hotel. It has a visual style, a verbal tone and a personal touch that adds up to a great social space. None of it is in the least accidental.
This is the ‘Experience Economy’ in action. It is clearly paying off for the hotel, which has won an impressive array of well-deserved awards – and for my weekend escape.