Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160
MONDAY 19 MARCH 2001
YOUNG, KCB AND
160. So half your visitors only come once and
half your visitors are from overseas and only come once, so virtually
every British visitor comes more than once?
(Dr Borg) Yes, that is probably true.
161. Remarkable. If it is true it perhaps explains
the 97 per cent satisfaction rate. It makes it look as those who
come from this country who do come at all are so remarkably satisfied
that they will certainly come at least once more in the same year.
(Dr Borg) It is not necessarily in the same year.
A repeat visitor may be someone who comes as child and comes again
as an adult. It is simply that they have been before to the institution.
162. That puts a rather different light on it
because you were saying earlier that 630,000 came for more than
the first time.
(Dr Borg) I did not mean in that year.
163. So a repeat visitor could be someone who
comes 50 years apart?
(Dr Borg) Yes.
Mr Rendel: Mrs Steinberg when she comes back?
Mr Steinberg: 40 years to go.
164. Why do some schools not come?
(Dr Borg) I do not think we have information as to
why they do not come. They must decide that their current courses
are not going to benefit from what we are offering to them.
165. What percentage of schools come in, say,
London and the South East? We do not expect all the ones from
Northumbria to come.
(Dr Borg) I do not know what percentage of all London
166. Is that not something you ought to know?
I should have thought if the schools that do come are just a fairly
small percentage but they come very frequently that would indicate
to me you have got a lot of potential out there which you are
simply not going for.
(Dr Borg) As I said, we have quite a large number
of school visits anyway that we do not know about because schools
are only counted as school visits if they tell us they are coming.
167. That would be another reason you ought
to know how many schools are not coming. If they are coming and
not telling you, firstly, you could do some useful work with those
and, secondly, it would give you a better indication as to whether
there were a lot of schools that might come, and might get quite
a lot out of such a visit, and are not coming. That is surely
important information for you. I am surprised you do not know
(Dr Borg) We send information to schools and do a
great deal of work with school teachers but, clearly, ideally
every single school should come.
168. How often do you send information to every
school in London?
(Dr Borg) We do mailings twice a year to schools.
169. And you do not know how many of those schools
(Dr Borg) We do mail all the schools in London and
the South East and we will know which ones come and it varies
from year to year.
170. You know which ones tell you that they
are coming because you keep telling me there are some that come
but do not tell you they are coming, so you do not know which
ones never come, on which perhaps you could do some more work.
Do you intend now to find out?
(Dr Borg) I accept that is something that we could
do some more work on.
171. Thank you. You said that you had done the
research now on the people that did not come but you did it after
June last year when this Report was finalised. When was it completed?
(Dr Borg) It was completed some time last year. I
cannot remember exactly but it was a piece of joint research done
with the two other South Kensington museums.
172. You said the information that you gleaned
from that was mainly that people were unaware of the contents,
the building was forbidding, or it was not for them. You were
asked the question twice and you repeated the first two of those
reasons the second time you were asked the question. The second
time you were asked that question you said "we need to tackle
that". What are you now doing to tackle that?
(Dr Borg) We are taking a series of steps which include
the refurbishment and reopening of the British Galleries, the
building of the Spiral Building, the development of the contemporary
programme. I think all the new activities the Museum is involved
in are intended to address new audiences and bring wider audiences
into the Museum.
173. How many of these things were started before
you did this research?
(Dr Borg) All of those things were started before
we did that research.
174. No new decisions have come out of the research
you did last year?
(Dr Borg) The research confirmed what we had expected;
that these were the reasons why people did not come. It did not
bring any surprises.
175. What do you do to attract back visitors
who have come for the first time?
(Dr Borg) We hope we provide an experience in the
Museum that people will want to return and visit again, but then
we also put on programmes of exhibitions which we hope will bring
them back a second time or third time.
176. There are no specific moves like giving
people a voucher if they pay to come back with a friend two weeks
(Dr Borg) We have the usual range of marketing initiatives
to bring people back.
177. The reference collections which are a very
big part of your claim that you make everything accessible; what
publicity is given to those?
(Dr Borg) The existence of the reference collections
is well-known to those people who are interested in them. If you
think of almost any of the collections in the Victoria and Albert
Museum, a large number of objects in that collection will be on
show. If you are interested in English ceramics or English water
colours you can come and see a large number on show. If you then
say, "Can I see more?" you will be told yes and how
that can be achieved. The reference collections are most used
by people who know that they exist, who are collectors, who are
interested, who are scholars. They may not know exactly what is
in them and that is why they will come and use them.
178. So the only people that use them are people
who know they exist. You do not go out of your way to tell people
who come to your Museum that there are a lot of other objects
which are not on show?
(Dr Borg) We certainly tell them that they can see
more of a particular type of object if they wish to do so.
179. How do you do that?
(Dr Borg) We tell them in labels and wall panels and
exhibitions that direct them to other parts of the Museum where
they can see more on show.