Beyond the more classic exhibition tours organised by their team to museums around the Americas and internationally, the American Museum of Natural History is actively developing experiences and services designed to engage with audiences more widely and differently. With curated 2D panel exhibitions on a variety of natural history themes, the institution succeeds in sharing content with increased numbers of visitors and a larger variety of hosting partners. Alexa Magladry, from the American Museum of Natural History, shares the recent success of taking Microsculpture, a photography exhibition, to audiences in Colombia within a mall environment.
Parque Arauco develops and manages shopping centres across Chile, Peru and Colombia. By creating shopping malls that are tailor-made to the neighborhoods they are based in, they strive to create spaces that contribute to improving the quality of life for people in their communities.
Covid disrupts communities coming together at malls
In Latin America, shopping malls are important meeting places for communities to come together, socialize and to be entertained. In Colombia specifically, entertainment options for families can be rather limited in some areas, so malls are a place where families can gather. Like many businesses, 2020 posed challenges for Parque Arauco – Covid-19 restrictions in Colombia meant that many shopping malls had to close, and special events were suspended. Once the situation began to improve, Parque Arauco wanted to activate the space in key shopping malls with an engaging experience that would encourage audiences to return to malls once again as community meeting places, by uniting visitors with a vibrant cultural experience.
“I felt honored for Microsculpture to come all the way to Colombia, I’m blown away by how the exhibition has been embraced by Colombians. To be able to make a difference or inspire someone through my work so far away from home is a beautiful thing“, says Levon Biss.
Microsculpture as an opportunity for audiences to get together again
Parque Arauco partnered with the American Museum of Natural History to tour Microsculpture, an exhibition by renowned photographer Levon Biss, across five cities in Colombia – Bogotá, Pereira, Bucaramanga, Medellin and Barranquilla. This 2D photography show presents a new perspective on insects, enabling audiences to study and appreciate hidden details of the insect world in an innovative and engaging way, and encouraging visitors to understand the importance of insects for our planet. As a flexible panel show, Microsculpture can be easily adapted to fit different spaces. Because the exhibition content is delivered digitally, this format allowed Parque Arauco to manage installations themselves and tour the show across the five malls with varying amounts of available space. The exhibition met Parque Arauco’s goals in a unique way, as it provided an opportunity for visitors to discover beautiful things and learn more about the natural world around them in an accessible way during a difficult time.
Delighting visitors with multiple ways to engage
Parque Arauco worked closely with marketing agency Buentipo Anchor to develop a comprehensive campaign to attract and delight visitors. The exhibition was free with any purchase at the mall. Selfie spots within the exhibition encouraged visitors to get involved and share their experiences and were also used as part of each mall’s influencer plan to raise awareness for the exhibition early on in its season.
A success for Parque Arauco
At each mall where the exhibition has toured, Microsculpture has succeeded in driving visitors to the exhibition. It contributed to recovering footfall to the malls and regaining trust within the community that malls are safe to return to. The audience reception to the exhibition was positive at each stop in the tour, with visitors feeling awe-inspired. Visitation targets were exceeded at both Bogotá and Bucaramanga locations by over 100% and targets were met at Pereira despite the exhibition closing early due to Covid-19 restrictions. During the exhibition’s seasons, general attendance to the four malls returned to pre-pandemic levels, due in part to Microsculpture’s success in driving visits. Engagement with the malls’ Instagram channels also increased by 4-10% per month.