.2. Real audience

What is the real audience that an archive could reach by changing and evolving its strategy?

Ideally, each archive aspires to be able to attract the general public. But for many reasons this is not a feasible target for all archives. So the organizations should re-evaluate their strengths and focus on specific social communities that ultimately constitute their potential audience as one may probably understand, the real public is different for every archive and it’s determined by the functionality of the strategic plan and the objectives set by the Institutions.

Institutions should consider the question of the distinctive features and the size of their desired audience within the next two to ten years time. In other words, they need to decide which part of society they wish address and what kind of experience they wish them to have, so that the correct approach techniques can be selected, depending on each age group and their preferences.

For example, if the organizations aim to attract children and adolescents, they should include in their plans the use of digital and interactive technological means. The virtual world has invaded our lives, and especially the lives of younger audiences, who perceive reality through digital filters. So for many years museums have been trying to attract children and adolescents through interactive storytelling and the use of technological means and apps for mobile phones and tablets. It is also common practice to create a virtual environment using VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) through specific software, external devices and specially designed rooms. Assuming that each cultural archive tells a story of national or local culture, it would be possible to apply these methods to make this narrative accessible. Thus, the new audience participates with its senses, activates its imagination and understands in its own way the content of archives previously considered as lying outside their sphere of interest.

Finally, it should be emphasized that great importance that should be given to the training of the institutions’ staff and the acquisition on their part of new skills, especially in the management of non-specialist audiences. Staff training and judicious technique selection are the most significant factors which contribute to the success of an institution’s plan and the formation of a new real audience.