Russia day 3 – the tool kit & Kremlin

We had a slightly different day yesterday in that we spent half the day developing our Museums Toolkit to help us better cater for Russian tourists. We met with our colleagues from Visit Britian in the British embassy (we even saw the Ambassador!) and then met with some very helpful tour operators and then a couple of journalists from Time Out.

The Kremlin

The Kremlin

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We had a tour around the Kremlin museums which houses the most incredible collection of material from the Tsars and then we were shown their education programme. They are extremely proud of what they have set up and run workshops facilitated by people dressed in replica pieces.

After the Kremlin we had a whistle stop tour of the Moscow Museum. This interesting museum houses the collection that tells the story of Moscow, but they are in a state of flux before they undergo a massive redevelopment, so really exciting. They have incredibly high ambitions for their space, but are still developing their ideas.

Here are a few things we learnt yesterday:

  • Russian tourists want free entry to museums in the UK, but have a high spend when they are here.
  • visas are still a massive problem for Russia tourists, it takes a long time and is expensive, but they can be used several times once they have one.
  • Russian visitors tend to come in groups (around 50%?), as individuals, or as part of a language school
  • they tend to stay 4-7 nights and 62% just go to London, Manchester is seen a a likely return visit destination
  • Russians want their holidays to be relaxing, but educational as well, so they really like culture
  • Russian tourists investigate places before they arrive, so they would benefit from a webpage in Russian. They also like an audio guide in Russian.

Russia study visit

imageI am currently in Russia on a study visit with Janneke Geene from the People’s History Museum. The trip is funded by Arts Council England and organised by the lovely people at the British Council.

The idea of the trip is to put together a toolkit to help regional UK museum better cater for Russian tourists and to promote our museums over here. we have a packed schedule of visiting museums here in Moscow and and in St Petersburg and meeting
journalists, tour operators and Visit Britain colleagues.

After landing in Moscow our first visit was to the amazing State Darwin Museum.

We had a fantastic tour with the Director Anna Klukina.

The interactive gallery

The interactive gallery

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image imageHere are a few things we learnt:

  • most museums in Russia charge an entrance fee (about£5 in this museum)
  • they generate a large income from hosting birthday parties
  • they don’t really get many foreign tourists they mostly just go to places like the Kremlin
  • they mostly just sell a selection of books in their shops I.e. not really any souvenirs
  • they had a nice cafe, but it didn’t really make much money for the museum partly because it has a 50% discount for staff

The other thing I really liked was the use of fairly cheap digital photo frames in the cases to show wildlife clips. This worked really well and a much cheaper alternative to IPads you see in a lot of British museums.



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