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Case Study: Engaging visitors

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More than


people visited exhibitions and events, with 96 per cent rating them ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

The British Library reached out to a wider cross-section of the community through its Public Programme, which includes permanent displays such as the Treasures Gallery, temporary exhibitions and a programme of more than 130 public events.

One of the year’s exhibition highlights, ‘Henry VIII: Man and Monarch’, was particularly successful in attracting people who had never been to the Library before. Fifty-eight per cent of those who came were first-time visitors – almost 40,000 people out of a total of nearly 68,000. This was the highest proportion achieved by a temporary exhibition in recent years. Feedback was the most positive ever received.

Guest-curated by historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey, the exhibition marked the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne. Among the 250 exhibits were important, rarely displayed items, including books from the king’s own library.

Accompanying events broadened the exhibition’s appeal with a series of performances, talks, family events and screenings. A touring programme travelled to eight locations around the UK, further extending its reach and profile of the audience.

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