Museum visitors can step back in time and tour a 1950's all-electric house.
Museum guests can visit a forested park and wander among tree ferns, waterfalls, and caves.
These experiences are offered by the Johnson County Museum (Shawnee, KS); The Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA); and Te Papa Tongarewa (Wellington, NZ), respectively. Exciting, educational, and memorable, they are among these museums' signature experiences. Once ticketed to any of these museums, one can tour the indoor galleries and at some point, venture outside the museum to enjoy these destination attractions. These outdoor exhibitions are accessible only after visitors have entered the museum proper.
In the All-electric House, you can smile at the memorably stylish furnishings of the 1950s and contemplate how the suburban lifestyle – with all its modern conveniences – was marketed to those who originally toured the model home. In Yin Yu Tang – a Chinese House, you can discover a rare example of Chinese architecture and learn about the daily life the Huang family, who resided in the house for over 200 years. In Bush City, you can wander a re-created natural area replete with indigenous plants and geological specimens. And when you’re finished with any of these, you can return to the mother ship museum and take in other exhibits, spend time in the gift shop, or enjoy refreshments.
These types of exhibitions represent, what I call, on-site excursions. I find that these “in-then-out-then-back-in” exhibitions offer a great sense of value, a refreshing change of scenery, a breath of fresh air, and an immersive contrast to the formal museum. They break up a typical visit structure and reduce fatigue. Also, many museums offer them under a separate ticket, and as such, they are revenue generators. I think they're a good idea.