On August 26th we went on an excursion to Alta Museum. As part of the field trip museum’s marketing and sales manager Anita Topia gave us a presentation. She explained how the museum operates and its roles of conserving one of the eight UNESCO heritage sites in Norway. However, museum work is not limited to protecting heritage. It plays a role in introducing the heritage and its importance to a wide range of people, from individuals to groups, locals and foreigners. The rock art is one of the two cultural heritage sites in Finnmark. There are five places in Alta that the rock art can be found. Only one of them, Hjemmeluft, is open to public. Other four, Kåfjord, Storsteinen, Amtmannsnes and Transfarelv are not made available for tourists, but are the Museum’s responsibility.
The Alta Museum consists of a director and three departments – protection, research, renewal. Their tasks are explained in 4F’s which are dissemination (Formidling), management (Forvaltning), research (Forskning), renewal (Fornybar).
The Museum gets about 60,000 visitors a year. The analysis shows the main season is from June to August, 80% of all the guests visit then. More than 99% of them are from Europe, with about 30% Norwegians. The largest proportion of tourists are from Germany, Italy and France. Alta museum would like to attract more visitors from Asia, since they see a big potential there. Another big opportunity to expand is to persuade the tourists visiting the North Cape, by new deals and marketing strategies. The museum is missing out on a big number of guests during the winter season, since the main attraction is unavailable during this time. Hence it is important to come up with new activities, different exhibition to bring in more visitors.
The guides are very valuable part of the Museum. They are the faces of a museum when greeting visitors and taking them on guided tours that are personalised by every guide. Which in turn has a significant impact on the museum’s image and their feedback. A good guide is someone who has plenty of knowledge on what they are presenting. The tour that is given should be educational and entertaining. It is important that the museum guide is enthusiastic, has a loud and clear voice, and knows how to adapt to the group that (s)he is presenting to.
Anita had made a SWOT analysis going into detail about the museums Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Some of it we discussed earlier – high vs low season, well trained employees, UNESCO status, increasing the number of visitors. The struggle is with lack of resources to finance the Museum, and their biggest threat is an overall decline in tourism, a financial crisis and vandalism. The museum has a responsibility in conserving the world heritage while displaying it for the public. Their future mission is to create more activities to reach out to more people, to meet the new demands of its customers. Overall we feel like Alta Museum has a lot to offer, and plenty of opportunities to grow.
- Topia, A. (2019). Verdensarvsenter for bergkunst – Alta Museum. Museum verdensarvsenter & reiselivsattraksjon. Presentation, Alta
Photographs taken by Hyunyi Um