Assessing the impact of museums feels hard. Mushy. Nebulous.
Assessing the impact of an individual museum can feel even more out of reach.
But what if it wasn’t so hard after all? What if museum-goers were able to tell us, pretty explicitly, about the impact we've had in their lives?
That museums provide priceless knowledge.
That they spark curiosity and a love of learning.
That they promote empathy, compassion, and understanding in meaningful ways.
That they truly do make us more creative and innovative.
And that individual museums are vital to these contributions?
The thing is … museum-goers and non-visitors DO credit museums for these things (and more).
But we only know this because museums themselves have participated in the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers, gaining data that begins to measure their impact over time while also contributing to our field-wide knowledge. Additionally, we need to continually push this research to refine and deepen our understanding of impact, so we can better make our case to visitors, donors, government entities, and the public.
And now the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers needs your museum.
If you want to begin to understand the impact your museum is having, the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers is a consistent way to measure how well you are serving visitors as well as contextual evidence about your impact … and how you can matter more. It builds on the strength of many museums to understand audience segments and motivations, helping participating museums broader and deepen their reach in their community.
And it only costs $1,000 to participate.
That modest fee includes:
- high-quality research on your visitors, with custom questions and contextualized results via spreadsheet, report, and a personal call from me (Susie Wilkening);
- field-wide research that is conducted and shared broadly with the field via presentations, The Data Museum, and my easy-to-digest Data Stories; and
- broader population sampling for comparison purposes.
The 2019 survey will continue to allow individual museums to measure how they are doing, but the heart of the survey will focus on three themes:
- The Pain/Pleasure Index. While we might wish that every museum visit was a total pleasure for visitors, we know it isn't always. The Pain/Pleasure Index will expand our understanding of the pain points of visiting, and how it affects the entire visit.
- Curiosity. Visitors to museums do credit museums with sparking curiosity, but how do we do that? How do we compare with other curiosity-sparking activities? And how does it affect knowledge building?
- Empathy and Compassion. Museum-goers often state that knowledge makes them more empathetic and compassionate, and they credit museums for cultivating this. But what is it about museums that makes us effective? And why does empathy and compassion matter in today's divisive time?
These themes matter to all museums, large and small, science and art and history (and everything in between).
To make the January/February launch window, museums need to enroll now. Only $1,000 for high-quality research, both about your museum and our field as a whole.
For more information, you can:
- Download this informational PDF
- Enroll at https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4230902/2019-Annual-Survey-of-Museum-Goers-Enrollment
- Review the 2019 Survey Scope document (fair warning: very geeky)
- Visit www.wilkeningconsulting.com
- Contact Susie Wilkening at susie (at) wilkeningconsulting (dot) com
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