Category Archives: Diversity

Posts about increasing ethnic, gender, and other kinds of diversity in the humanities and the digital humanities.

TALK Session Proposal – Making A Connection with Visitors


Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific Railroad, scale model railroad train from his Holmby Hills backyard.

Walt Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad, the scale model railroad train from his Holmby Hills backyard. On display in Gallery 9 at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Have you ever visited some where and felt a connection? It could be anywhere. A bakery, a restaurant, a theme park, a library or a museum.

Those connections can be anything. A favorite experience recalled, a family moment, something from your own past or that of a distant relative or ancestor.

Why are these connections important? As a visitor, the greater the connection means the better the experience. As a location, the best possible connection with a visitor helps to generate the best possible visitor experience, which likely will lead to that visitor sharing with others, who may be potential visitors. Call it word of mouth, but it may be the best promotional effort you can invest in.

The Presidio Main Post offers a wonderful example with the Walt Disney Family Museum. It enjoys a connection with visitors that is only dreamt of by some locations. People of a certain age recall when Walt Disney came into their living rooms every Sunday night, sharing adventures and entertainment they could not wait to see. For these people, the WDFM offers an intimate look into the life of this man and the entertainment he brought. For another generation, the Museum provides a look into the name and the man beyond the brand of entertainment in theaters and theme parks. For those interested in the arts of film making and animation, the history of both are explored as visitors pass from one gallery to another.

This session would explore the concept of this connection with visitors. Why is it so essential? Can a connection be made with visitors who seem to have none? How can you and your organization create a connection? How can you identify this connection in action or if a failure exists to connect with visitors.


Roger Colton has beenĀ a volunteer in many roles at railway museums in California, Nevada and Hawaii, he has seen this connection in action on many occasions. He is also a member of the Walt Disney Family Museum and participated in development of the recent Walt Disney and Railroads exhibition.