Museums in airports


In light of the ongoing pandemic and all of the problems in international travel that it has highlighted we are pausing work on developing this project. Many of the opportunities we and our friends at Art Ratio demonstrate can easily also be applied to other communal spaces so please do get in touch if you are developing a display, exhibit or museum idea outside a conventional gallery space.

Instead of the obvious approach of simply displaying product, retailers can really learn from the world of museum and art curation. We can show you how to convert your retailers into storytellers.

Imagine an antique map, a rare sculpture, an ancient manuscript, or a more humble object from your business archives or collections positioned at the store entrance in a beautiful but secure display case. Striking up a conversation with a customer around art, culture and history is what curators do best.

We have teamed up with our friends at ArtRatio to invite you to take the the opportunity to bring museum-quality art and display to your airport or airport shop.

Even the most humble of artefacts may be elevated to treasured art with the magic of an ArtRatio case. © ArtRatio, 2019.

Intelligent marketing for a captive audience

Displays and exhibitions at airports are not new ideas and between us we have remarked how much more quickly time goes waiting to board or while in transit when there is something to detain and entertain our minds. However, the placement and associations of these displays tend to be out on a limb, unsignposted and unmediated by a friendly face.

Instead of the obvious approach of simply displaying product, retailers can really learn from the world of museum and art curation. We can show you how to convert your retailers into storytellers.

Airport retailers are often thought of as having a captive audience, since high-octane business class and first class passengers who would not necessarily have time to stop by a luxury storefront on the high street, often find themselves having a few hours downtime between flights.

Photograph of man in silhouette looking at two paper exhibits displayed in the glass-clad terminal building of Shanghai Airport, China.
Exhibition of Chinese traditional arts at Shanghai Pudong Airport, January 2016 (Curatorial Research Centre).

Add value to dwell time

If retailers want people to shop instead of sitting in lounges or at gates they need to provide the value and the opportunity to be seen by as many passengers as possible.  If their presentation and display is the same as their other outlets they have a missed opportunity.

Increasing dwell time is a key goal of retailers. It is estimated that customers spending over an hour at the airport are 38% more likely to shop and buy. Increased security measures already mean longer airport dwell times. When travellers view the airport experience as part of their overall trip, their good or better because airport experience will lead to a desire to spend more time there, and may also influence their future choice of departure or transit airport.

Psychology of relieving stress and boredom

Carla Pohli, luxury retail expert and Chief Marketing Officer for ArtRatio has examined the emotions involved in airport shopping. She reflects that by addressing common negative emotions experienced at airports, like stress and anxiety, providing comforting experiences can increase consumer interest. Using art, a quirky artefact and storytelling can help rescue your potential customers from boredom and anxiety, essentially encouraging shopping to ‘escape’ the airport.

  • Time available and price are key influencers
  • Stress and boredom are key emotions
  • Mood shoppers are driven by atmosphere and associations
  • Apathetic shoppers are indifferent and killing time
  • Shopping lovers will enjoy all aspects
  • Psychological and physical responses range from higher excitement levels to increasing spend
  • Relieves boredom and provides distraction from anxiety leading to impulsive decisions/shopping.

Connect your brand to a great experience

We can provide training to your marketing and sales professionals in how to attract passers-by to take an interest in a piece of art, historical artefact or object. This can count towards your commitment to the professional development and well-being of your staff as well as training them in how to tempt more customers to make a purchase.

Sales staff can attract the airport passenger with a fascinating story of how an object is linked to the timeline or cultural background of your brand, this can form a more durable relationship than just trying to sell your products to a cold audience.

How it works

Different kinds of art and artefact have different security considerations. If you are wanting to showcase a piece of museum-quality art, you need to consider some important elements, perhaps the top one being security. And no-one does security quite like an international airport.

At the Curatorial Research Centre we specialise in brokering agreements between lenders and borrowers, advise on risks, insurance and installations, all to give you peace of mind.

ArtRatio display cases elevate even humble or unassuming objects into something special, because of the theatrical presentation and grand reveal afforded by the smart glass and internal lighting.

The dark glass conserves fragile collections; the internal LED lighting illuminates the object only when someone approaches. This means we can display fragile textiles and manuscripts safely and conscientiously. 

ArtRatio’s display tech doesn’t stop there. The sensors measure popularity by counting the time that visitors have stopped to view the item. This is called ‘Luxury Retail Analytics’.

A complete service

Between ArtRatio and the Curatorial Research Centre we have decades of experience in curating art collections for museums, individuals and institutions.

ArtRatio have worked during the past 10 years for museums and private collectors to engineer stunning exhibition cases using smart glass to conserve and display fragile collections. They also do what no other showcase does, they add a bit of magic to your space.