DIANE: It’s so refreshing to go to a museum with someone who doesn’t slide across the marble floors in their stocking feet.
SAM: Hey, those paintings look a lot better if you go by fast.
(Cheers, Season 3, Episode 9, “An American Family.”)
A museum visit – as highlighted through this Cheers quotation – can differ dramatically depending on the visitor. In an effort to better understand what makes (or breaks) a museum experience, visitor studies help institutions and organizations better meet the needs of current and future museum audiences.
As an intern, I am excited to be on board while our institution works with the American Association for State and Local History in the new Visitors Count! program. This program partners AASLH with the Center for Nonprofit Management of Nashville, and facilitates surveys, analysis, and benchmark results against other organizations in the field. As part of the Education Section, so far I have assisted with survey question feedback. I look forward to learning more about the program and about audience research in general as our work continues.
What really impresses you as a museum guest – or professional – when you visit other institutions? As a museum visitor, is there one thing you would change about your average museum experience? More gallery seating? A free coat check? All ideas welcome!
Read more about Visitors Count!