What You Can Learn From the St. Joseph Museums

Here’s a “mystery from the museum” – solved – from a marketing perspective: Your audience is probably looking for things they don’t have access to in their immediate area. Capitalize on what makes you unique, and you may not have to invest in every marketing channel that comes your way. You can focus on the ones that really count. It sounds simple, but a reminder of this principle in action could get you thinking of some new angles for your own product or service messages.

At the St. Joseph Museums, year-long marketing through regional publications in conjunction with the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau seeks to actively remind audiences that St. Joseph has some truly one-of-a-kind offerings. While there are numerous large-scale attractions across cities like Kansas City and Omaha, pinpointing what our area has that they don’t have is a strategy that works. Many times, a unique offering, such as an 1879 mansion, can outpace expensive campaigns for the “typical” heavily-marketed tourist activities. The secret (that really isn’t so secretive) is to find your marketing platforms and use them to sell what you actually have to sell.

For the St. Joseph Museum, this means activities like feature articles in regional publications. Sharing your brand story in a “news” format can help you gain more media leverage, along with encouraging more sharing online. Here’s an example from a story the museum submitted to a north Kansas City-based publication:

You don’t have to travel a great distance from the Northland to get a taste of European architecture or to gain insight into the long road traveled by individuals with mental illness. The German-inspired 1879 Wyeth-Tootle Mansion and the uniquely enlightening Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, MO each provide an accessible (and unforgettable) educational experience.

The mansion’s commanding height, its impressive tower and remarkable view of the Missouri River region and bluffs were inspired by the original owner’s trips to castles along Germany’s Rhine River. Owners William and Eliza Wyeth commissioned the French-trained architect E.J. Eckel to help them realize their grand vision. In fact, Eckel’s architectural vision and talent left a lasting mark on the St. Joseph community, as his firm designed a number of St. Joseph’s outstanding historical buildings.

Visitors often experience a “wow” moment at the mansion’s incredible woodwork, ornate patterned floors and recently-discovered hand-painted ceilings including images of  cherubs and heavenly clouds.

For another awe-inspiring experience, St. Joseph’s Glore Psychiatric Museum leads you through exhibits that illustrate the history and progress of mental health treatment. The museum is one of only a few of its kind in the nation, making it a must-see.

Established in 1968 as a collection of displays for a St. Joseph State Hospital open house, the Glore Psychiatric Museum now presents over 10,000 items for viewing. The original displays were created by the museum’s namesake, George Glore, and are still a part of today’s collection. These exhibits give visitors a life-size visual of what mental health treatment devices looked like in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Glore, then the occupational therapist for the St. Joseph State Hospital, worked with his patients to create the original displays. Donations from across the nation have gradually expanded the Glore Psychiatric Museum’s exhibits over its 48-year history.

Case in point:  No other area attractions can offer the same type of setting or visitor experiences that the St. Joseph Museums has to offer, so this is where the article remains focused. By strategically placing what’s most unique about who you are and what you do in a few well-planned marketing platforms, you may see that you’re outshining your competition and keeping a stream of inquiries headed your way.

What makes you different than your competitors? Ponder it today.

St. Joseph Museums

The St. Joseph Museums include the Glore Psychiatric Museum, the Native American collection, the Doll Museum, the Black Archives, the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion and a library and archives that the museums operate, including the Eckel Architectural Collection.