M Museum Leuven


The goal

M Museum wanted to know how visitors make a meaning of their exhibitions with all their senses.

Haystack helped the M Museum in better understanding two things: (1) who the visitor is that comes to the M Museum and how M Museum can answer his needs, and (2) what the influence is of senses on art experience and on emotions, since the two are closely connected.
The final goal for the M Museum was to know how senses could enrich the art experience, so they would be able to create a multisensory art exhibition that creates more value for both the consumer and the M Museum.

What we did

To map out emotional responses through multisensory learning, Haystack combined different methodologies:

  • We used lean development approach, which means we did research in two different stages. In the first stage, the art pieces remained the same. In the second stage, the setting was manipulated by including more multisensory experiences to existing art pieces. Comparing both situations enabled us to deep dive into the effect of combining sensory with art.
  • In both phases, we combined qualitative and quantitative research. For the qualitative part we mainly used focus groups in which we used Symphony Of Senses as the main toolkit and for the quantitative we used an app, specially designed for this study.
  • The Symphony Of Senses philosophy is based on the theory all knowledge, perceptions and emotions consumer build about their environment are based on the information they receive via their senses.

The outcome

The research helped us to truly understand who the M Museum visitor really is:

  • Visitors go to a museum to experience a mental transportation. They want to learn but also relax, they want to step out during their museum visit. To experience this transportation, everything needs to breath the same message; the building, the entrance, the garden, the shop, the art,…
  • Next to that, visitors don’t make a distinction between old masters and contemporary art, but see it as a whole. They have a much more holistic view.
  • Museum visitors like multisensory information, but have difficulties using the multisensory tools, since they don’t match with their traditional expectations. Multisensory tools need to be in line with the rest of the museum and need to help them experience the mental transportation, not getting them out of it. The museum will need to break through by using simple and continuous tools to give the visitor the comfort to use their other senses.

Triggered on how multisensory research can add value to your business? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert Sarah Degrande.

Want to know more about this case study? Join the and& summit & festival 2018 on May 3, 11 AM at M Museum. and& summit & festival 2018 is the very first edition of a biennial non-profit initiative of Leuven MindGate.