17 Oct 2016

A summer of Pokémon

Following on from the success of the first BMAG Pokémon Hunt we decided to run some more Pokémon Go events throughout the summer holidays. As all our Wednesday activities during the summer were wildlife themed we decided that Wednesday was the right day to get people hunting Pokémon too.

As the first Pokémon hunt had worked so well we decided to keep the format the same. One thing that had proven particularly popular, with adults and children, were the badges that people earned by taking great pictures or catching a Pokémon that nobody else had caught yet. We decided to make a whole series of badges so that we could give away a different one at each event. This would provide a reward for those who returned and encourage other to come back for future events. We are indebted to our colleague Matt whose Photoshop skills made our badges look so good. By the final event we had a number of regular visitors proudly displaying a full set of badges.

One element that was beyond our control was which Pokémon might appear and whether it was worthwhile for people to actually come and catch Pokémon. Through interacting with visitors and keeping a list of things they had caught we found that we were attracting quite a variety of Pokémon. We had at least 50 different types during each event ranging from common Pidgeys and Drowzees to much rarer creatures like Porygon and Dragonair. The Pokémon also provided our visitors with some great opportunities to be inventive with photography in the galleries. If you want to see some of these pictures you can still view them on twitter on the #bmagpokehunt hashtag.

One thing that surprised us was the diverse nature of people playing the game. From the very first event we had lots of adults playing the game but as time went by the players seemed to get younger. We had many family groups with young children playing together. One visitor commented that she was so pleased that her children were now asking her if they could go to the museum every week and that every time they visited they explored a different part of the galleries. We had a lot of overseas visitors who were keen players and were surprised to see PokeStop signs dotted throughout the galleries. We also had a number of bemused older visitors who hadn’t played the game before and were curious to see what all the fuss was about. In some cases we had people downloading the game and starting to play just so that they could join in on the day. 

It was good to see visitors collaborating with each other, discussing what they had caught and where, so that everyone might get a chance of catching that elusive rare Pokémon. We also had groups of young people hunting in teams.

Overall I think it is safe to say that we had a few hundred players attend each event. Whilst some played for maybe only half and hour, some stayed for several hours and combined the visit with a trip to the Tea Room. What was fantastic to see was the amount of people that kept coming back to pick up the next badge. The fact that those people committed one day each week of their summer holidays to come and support us was very gratifying. 

If you missed out on our summer of Pokémon, don't worry you have another chance to join in. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has joined forces with the team behind the Birmingham Pokewalk to host a special Halloween Pokemon hunt in the build up to the Halloween Pokewalk on Saturday October 29th. Lures will be placed between 10.30am and 1.30pm. The Halloween Pokewalk starts at 2pm in Victoria Square, just around the corner from us. 

Thanks to everyone who got involved in our summer of Pokémon.