How Can Southampton Art Galleries Use Virtual Tours to Increase Visitor Numbers?

The world of art is continuously evolving, embracing new forms of interaction and technology to enhance the experience of viewers and scholars alike. A recent development in this field is the use of virtual tours in museums and galleries. This approach uses digital platforms like Thinglink to create immersive, interactive online exhibitions that allow users to engage with art in a whole new way. For Southampton Art Galleries, this could be the key to attracting more visitors and enhancing their cultural experience.

The Rise of Virtual Tours in Art Galleries

The advent of the digital age has dramatically revolutionized the way we consume art. One major development is the increasing popularity of virtual tours. These digital exhibitions provide a new avenue for galleries to reach a wider audience, particularly in the current climate where physical visits may be limited.

Virtual tours leverage the power of digital storytelling, using platforms like Thinglink to recreate the physical experience of walking through a gallery. They allow viewers to click on different artworks and read about them, learn about their historical and cultural context, and, in some cases, even interact with the pieces.

Virtual tours aren't simply a replication of a physical visit – they can offer a different, richer experience. Many tours include additional content, like videos, audio commentary, and interactive elements that allow visitors to engage with the art in a new and exciting way.

The Power of Interactive Storytelling

Interactive storytelling is an essential element of virtual tours. While viewing an art piece in a gallery offers a certain level of engagement, digital platforms add an extra layer by allowing viewers to interact with the content.

Platforms like Thinglink enable galleries to create interactive exhibitions that go beyond passive viewing. Viewers can click on specific pieces to learn more about them, or follow curated paths through the exhibition. This gives the viewer a sense of agency and involvement in their experience, which can create a deeper connection to the art.

Virtual tours also offer the potential for more immersive storytelling. Galleries can include audio and video content, interactive quizzes, or even virtual reality experiences. This can add a whole new dimension to the viewer's experience, and make art more accessible and engaging than ever.

The Role of Thinglink in Virtual Tours

Thinglink is one of the leading platforms for creating interactive virtual tours. It allows galleries to map out their exhibitions in a digital space, then add content like images, videos, and text to create a rich, engaging experience.

Southampton Art Galleries, for instance, could use Thinglink to create a virtual tour of a Kyla Ball exhibition. Viewers could move through the gallery at their own pace, clicking on different artworks to read about them. They could learn about Ball's inspiration and process, or even hear audio commentary from the artist herself. This enriches the learning experience and provides a deeper understanding of the art.

Thinglink also provides analytics, allowing galleries to track visitor engagement and understand which pieces or sections of the tour are the most popular. This data can be invaluable in planning future exhibitions and optimizing the virtual tour experience.

Improving Accessibility and Expanding Reach

Virtual tours can significantly improve the accessibility of art galleries. They allow people who may not be able to visit in person – due to physical limitations, geographical distance, or other restrictions – to engage with the gallery's collection.

In a digital age where online content is king, virtual tours can help art galleries expand their reach. They can attract a global audience, transcending geographical boundaries and opening up the opportunity to engage with art lovers worldwide.

For instance, a scholar in another country interested in the works of Kyla Ball could take a virtual tour of her exhibition at Southampton Art Galleries. This would not only broaden the gallery's visitor demographic but also enhance the international reputation of both the artist and the gallery.

Furthermore, virtual tours can also be an excellent tool for education. They provide a new way for students to explore and engage with art, which can enhance their learning experience. Teachers can use these tours as a resource in their lessons, providing a more interactive and engaging approach to art education.


In conclusion, virtual tours represent a powerful tool for art galleries looking to increase visitor numbers and engagement. Platforms like Thinglink make it easy to create engaging, interactive tours that can expand a gallery's reach, improve accessibility, and provide a richer, more engaging experience for visitors. For Southampton Art Galleries, embracing virtual tours could be a game-changer, transforming the way they engage with their audience and enhancing their reputation as a leading cultural institution.

Southampton Art Galleries, like many cultural institutions, must continue to adapt and evolve to stay relevant in the digital age. Virtual tours provide an exciting opportunity to do just that, offering a new way to engage with art lovers and scholars alike. By embracing this technology, they can enhance their visitors' experience, broaden their audience, and secure their place as a leading cultural institution in the digital age.

Using Social Media and Google Scholar to Promote Virtual Tours

Social media platforms and academic search engines like Google Scholar can play a significant role in promoting virtual tours and attracting more visitors to Southampton Art Galleries. They are powerful tools for spreading awareness of the gallery's digital offerings and reaching a large, diverse audience.

For instance, the galleries could create short teasers or trailers of their virtual tours, showcasing snippets of the digital content and interactive features. They could share these trailers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, using relevant hashtags to reach a broader audience. This would not only arouse interest but also encourage sharing, resulting in a larger audience and potentially higher visitor numbers.

In addition to regular social media platforms, the gallery could also leverage Google Scholar for promoting digital storytelling experiences of their virtual tours. Detailed articles could be published on the tours, the artwork involved, the creative process, and the contextual historical and cultural information provided. This would make it available to a wide range of scholars, students, and art enthusiasts who use Google Scholar for academic research.

For instance, an in-depth article could be written about the Kyla Ball exhibition, including references to Ball's inspiration, her process, and the cultural context of her work. Another article could be centered on the technology and creative process behind creating the virtual tour, highlighting the advantages it brings to the viewer’s experience. These articles would not only promote the virtual tour but also contribute to the body of digital heritage research.

Moreover, collaborations with influencers, bloggers, or art critics who have a large following on social media or Google scholar could be another effective way to promote the virtual tours. These individuals could review the tours, conduct interviews with artists like Kyla Ball and Louise Jones, or even host live walkthroughs of the tours, bringing in their followers as prospective visitors.

Conclusion: Embracing the Digital Age through Virtual Tours

In summary, the adoption and promotion of virtual tours can significantly influence the growth and modernization of Southampton Art Galleries. By leveraging digital storytelling and virtual reality, the galleries can offer a richer, more interactive experience to their visitors. This approach can broaden the gallery's audience, reaching art lovers worldwide, regardless of geographical boundaries or physical limitations.

The utilization of platforms like Thinglink to create engaging, interactive virtual tours will not only increase visitor engagement but also provide valuable data to improve future exhibitions. Moreover, promoting these tours on social media and Google Scholar can attract a broader audience and establish Southampton Art Galleries' presence in the digital art world.

Accessibility, interactivity, and a wider reach are just some of the significant benefits of integrating virtual tours into the offering of art galleries. For institutions like Southampton Art Galleries, this digital shift can enhance their reputation as a leading cultural institution, contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage, and ensure their relevance in an increasingly digital world.

As we move forward, it's clear that the merging of art and technology is not just a passing trend, but a vital part of the future of art galleries. Institutions that embrace this change, like Southampton, will be better equipped to thrive in this digital era, engaging with a global audience and providing a richer, more immersive art experience. In light of this, virtual tours have proven to be more than just a temporary solution; they are a game-changing tool for art galleries to enhance their cultural offering and secure their place in the digital age.