Who visits museums? NPG’s case study

The National Portrait Gallery’s case study


The National Portrait Gallery, in London, had more than 2 million visitors last year. 

With the world’s most extensive portrait collection, they exhibit from Queen Elisabeth’s paintings to Queen’s Freddie Mercury’s photographs, plus every relevant British figure in between.



Who visits museums?

As their funding correlates to the annual number of visitors, the gallery needed to know their audience in order to attract more people inside. They had been using a counting system but it wasn’t enough. For example, was an exhibition targeted to young people actually successful with this group? Is it the grandmother or the grandfather that brings children in? Questions like these, related to visitors’ profiles, were left unanswered.



To do it, there were two main challenges:

  • Avoid a great number of cameras and equipment – that could damage the gallery’s historic building; and
  • Deal with the direct sunlight towards the cameras at the main entrances – that converted people’s faces into silhouettes.


Whoever comes in, also goes out

The solution is Face Click®: a face detection and profiling software that gives analytics on age groupgender, and accurately counts people in real time and anonymously.

Installing it in a camera facing inwards, it will capture the visitors’ characteristics while leaving the gallery (the same that walked in) at the main doors, to avoid direct sunlight. In the gallery’s exhibition rooms and shops, the existing security cameras will be used.



Adapt the gallery

They will be equipped with actionable insight on visitor patterns and interests by demographic group, in each room, each shop, and in the gallery as a whole.

For example, if the contemporary room has younger visitors, they can adapt the next exhibition to a topic that attracts this demographic group. Or, if there are many women coming in, to have souvenirs at the shop specifically targeted to them.

All of these analytics are updated, in real time, in an online dashboard so the NPG can gather all of the information to quickly share with the administration board.

Face Click will help them support decision-making, to adapt their artworks and message, and plan future exhibitions according to the people that visit them.

Download this case study here

Inside Visions


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