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5 Great Corporate Museums

I’m occasionally stunned by the depth of our members’ knowledge of the marketing space. Last week, when we got a question in our Marketing Org & Ops Forum about corporate museums, I assumed the question was too specific or too obscure to warrant a big response.

I was wrong.

Our members shared several examples of successful corporate museums, such as the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee and the Hershey Foods Museum in Hershey, PA.  Coca-Cola also has a great museum in Atlanta, which offers free tasting sessions at the end of its tours.  All are successful because they do a great job at educating the visitor about the industry, company, and how their products are manufactured.

Members in our Discussions forum offered the following advice for operating a corporate museum:

  • Plan ahead and to review content and update as necessary—having a museum with out-of-date information is no fun for anyone.  
  • Establish an archive and actively blog about the company history and content within the museum. 
  • Keep records of customer inflow in order to measure success (i.e. how many visitors per day, # tours given, etc).

To see some of the companies that do the best job of executing on these tidbits of advice, here are some of the five most interesting and popular corporate museums in the world:

  1. Porsche Museum (pictured above): Built by world-famous architects Delugan Meissl, the new Porsche museum stands outside Porsche Headquarters in Zuffenhausen, Germany. The display area covers 5600 square meters featuring around 80 exhibits, many rare cars and a variety of historical models.
  2. McDonald’s Museum: A recreation of the first ever McDonald’s, which was opened on April 15, 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois by McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc.  Visitors can learn all about the first hamburger, and even make their own vanilla cones!
  3. Intel Museum: At 10,000-square-feet, this museum attracts close to 80,000 people a year.  It is home to more than 30 interactive exhibits, educational programs and docent-led tours that celebrate over 40 years of the Santa Clara chipmaker’s history.
  4. Levi Strass & Co. Visitors Center: Opened in 2003 for the company’s 150th anniversary, this museum contains everything from letters to the company and previous advertisements to the world’s oldest pair of jeans (from 1879). 
  5. Wells Fargo History Museum: First opened in 1986, the Wells Fargo History Museum in San Francisco stands on the site where the company first opened for business in 1852. The museum tells the story of Wells Fargo’s history of banking in the United States and the Gold Rush in San Francisco and the West.  The museum houses a stagecoach dating back 141 years that was used by Wells Fargo, along with a 22-year-old reproduction.

MLC members, to read through the conversation, click here.  Have some extra time? Check out the world’s “12 Coolest Museums” according to The (London) Sunday Times.

Comments from the Network (1)

  1. Brian Stokoe
    on November 4, 2010

    Keep your eye out for the New Caterpillar Museum in Peoria IL. Should not disappoint. :-)

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