The Wellcome Collection has an already confident and articulate team of Visitor Experience Assistants. They independently create their own tours and engagement sessions which are delivered regularly throughout the museum. We met their Head of Visitor Experience at The Museums Association Conference and Exhibition and started a conversation to work out how we could develop his Visitor Experience Assistants interaction skills.
To see where we could best help to develop the VE Assistants we observed them deliver a selection of engagement sessions. The quality was high but we could see where our training would offer an opportunity for the VE Assistants to refine their techniques and tackle areas where they were less confident. We delivered 1–day workshops to provide 2 groups of VE assistants with our storytelling blueprint, which would give them a practical understanding of how elements from storytelling could help them both explore, structure and deliver information engagingly and how to apply those same techniques to create and deliver an engagement session: a Busk (interactive, conversational object handling within the galleries) or a Reading Room discussion.
The workshop was an excellent and rare opportunity for the participants to work and think together about how and what they communicate. At the end of each day the participants showed each other how they had applied the workshop’s techniques to an engagement session they had created in the afternoon. The storytelling techniques improved how they explained the detailed and broad context of their subject, they illustrated the world that surrounded their subject and used a narrative structure to ensure each piece of information was relevant to the overall theme and intention of the engagement session.