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Rethinking Experience Design for a New Reality

Category: On-Demand Programs: Audience Research & Evaluation

This is a recorded session from the 2020 AAM Virtual Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo.

Presented by: The AAM Professional Networks – Committee on Audience research & Evaluation and Public Relations & Marketing Committee


 Liz Kollmann: Hello everyone, I will get us started. Since its and I know we have a lot. We want to pack into a short amount of time.

Thank you so much for joining us. And what’s been a difficult time and a time where more than ever. I think it’s really important that we think about our visitors and our audiences and even our non-audiences and make sure that we are producing programming and museum experiences that work for a large range of people.

My name is Liz Coleman, I am the Manager of research and evaluation at the Museum of Science in Boston. And I’m also the chair of care. The professional network which is the Committee of audience research and evaluation for am I have been doing this for a little over a year now. And really, we are as a professional network trying to create professional development and programming for any museum professional to help you think about how to use Evaluation and Research that you might be having. And doing at your institution as well as get some professional development as well. And so, we’re really excited that you’re here to hear from Peter and Jen. And with that, I’m going to turn it over to Tim.

Tim Hallman: Hello everyone, my name is Tim Holman I’m sorry I don’t have a photo on my screen. I am the Director of Communications and business development at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and have most recently served as chair of PRAM the PR and marketing professional network of the Alliance and I want to salute Liz and care for being wonderful partners in shaping and sharing different areas of expertise across different areas, so that we can learn from each other. This was meant to be a breakfast in San Francisco. And I want to thank Peter and Jen for being flexible Peter and Jen, why don’t you introduce yourself.

Peter Linett: Before…

Jen Benoit-Bryan: Their agenda tonight. Brian, I am the vice president and co-director of research at slow rolling ads and so delighted to be here with you. I have plans to be in San Francisco, but glad that we have this really robust community and seeing everybody say hi. It’s just been lovely. Thank you.

Peter Linett: Yes, peter out here at President of the firm and I really miss meeting with and talking with my old friends in the field. Hello to all of you, including my colleague and met my mentor soft during from St. Louis.

But in St. Louis. At the moment, not from and I really look forward to an interactive real dialogue is as much as we can on zoom today.

Tim Hallman: Thanks, Peter. Before we get rolling. I did want to take a moment, along with the CO presenters and thinking about some of the things that we’re facing Natalie from covert in the pandemic, but the anxiety, the pain, the suffering of what’s happening in the streets of our cities.

I think all of us are eager to help support Black Lives Matter be advocates allies and listen to the unheard. So, I’m hoping that some of the things we discussed today will help you think about things that will reinvigorate your institutions missions in supporting some of those things. So, thank you for being here. During these really troubling times.

Peter Linett: Especially to our friends in Minneapolis. We’re with you.

Liz Kollmann: So, we were originally going to have this as a breakfast and you know the this liberal Annette folks, we’re going to talk to us about the six P’s of experiment experience design framework.

But obviously, when this covert crisis happened, you know, they started having a this wonderful nationwide audience research study and we we were very much hopeful that they could share some of that with us last minute and kind of change our plans so me will still talk about the six P’s of experience design framework, but through the lens of this national study and we will be able to get a sneak peek at some of the findings here today, which I know I’m very excited about. And this work is being done with Arthur Cohen from La Plata Cohen as well.

Tim Hallman: It’s a Tim. Again, I’m assuming that everyone on the call in some capacity is helping their institutions with reactivation plans.

And so, I don’t think this topic could come at a better time and I’ve been a big fan of the six P’s and go back to it on a regular basis as as a framework to understand how to think about the visitor experience. It is something that can be used in a flexible way for the short-term midterm long term, it does put the visitor at the center. And it’s a it’s a discipline that’s adaptable in a very credible si p zero introduce it in a, in a moment.

The we’re going to also learn from Jen and Chris about some of the things that the research has revealed and these are crazy uncertain times and to have a bit of clarity from the voices of our public is crucial and then to have the framework of the six P’s to focus that energy in a great way. Is a very timely and I hope you enjoy it. Peter, you want to take it away.

Peter Linett: Yes. Thank you, Tim and lose and I also want to make sure that since you all know Maggie Smith is on the screen with us. Maddie Madeline Smith is a project director at our firm and as taken on the task of just helping with this panel, but I don’t want to leave her out. Maddie, do you want to say hello as well.

Madeline Smith: Yeah. Hello, everybody. I’m really excited to join and help navigate the tech side of the new world. We’ve been living in for a couple of my the very definition of…

Peter Linett: overqualified right for the role, you’re going to be playing here. But thank you for helping. So, I hope you all see the six piece of experience design graphic.

The sort of grid. That’s shipping on your screen, you may have to dig out that window and maybe resize it will be showing a number of slides, some of the printed small. So, I would urge you to prioritize the slides over our faces.

So, the six P’s. Yes. Tim has Tim, you’re saying, I feel like the point of the framework is this sort of empathy with audiences that they see museums and all kinds of cultural organizations and experiences holistically. They don’t see very defined boundaries, much less departmental boundaries of the kind that we have on the inside. So, when you look at this, it’s really not a grid, it ought to be a kind of very blurry Venn diagram. And I want to run through all of these pieces with you but I’m going to do it quickly because we’re trying to combine the six-piece sort of topic area with the Copa research study that we’re doing, which is a special edition of culture track which Jen’s gonna say more about. I’m going to share some very early-stage preview kinds of findings but let me just concentrate a little bit with you on the grid here.

Programming is the first P and we won’t spend a lot of time on it today, but I want to make the point that it is not just content that it’s not just the one but it’s also the how you think about where most of the attention goes when you’re planning an exhibition, for example, or even program. It’s sort of the first question is usually. What’s it about. That’s the content. But how are people mentor experienced that content, how we’re going to engage with it, participate in feel it and connect to it. That’s the form side, the sort of the how. And relevance depends on both of those things, not just content, but also form. So, is it going to be serious or reverie? Is it going to be participatory, or passive is it immersive? Is it multi-sensory or is it more of a white cube tears the art museum phrase from the 70s?

Is it unmediated or is it technology rich and one could go on and on it? I, we don’t have time, but I just wanted to know that programming is not just the one. It’s also now.

I’m switching to people. This also has a duality built into it. It’s not just your people. The docents and the security staff and you and your colleagues who are largely probably behind the scenes from the visitor standpoint.

Volunteers, all of that. It’s also each other from the visitor standpoint, it’s the them from our standpoint. So what do they need from each other in the experience and what is the experience meant to do sort of with them as it kind of social you and you curate them as much as you curate by hiring and training the staff so you you’re doing experience design around the people elements, you’re selecting and in a way that you may or may not be fully intentional about age racial ethnic diversity, the tone of the experience for people and so we’ll talk about both aspects of that. How are your staff and frontline people train? What’s their role in the experience? What’s their attitude how welcoming, are they, how well do they reflect, you know, the diversity is plural of your community. And then also the visitors Howard a mentee.

And then what we’re learning over the years and acutely during college is that people want connection and they now during the lockdowns miss the connection, both with the humans on your team and each other in the music experience okay place has been and it’s getting a lot of conversation right now, in part, it’s about things like geography.

And this is the understudied aspect. It’s like on who is turf. Does the experience take place you design that too, right, where in the community is easy to get to who sort of owns that space, but also of course the physical setting, what’s the place like how comfortable are people in it? Is it welcoming feeling and if so, to whom because welcoming differs? Is it outdoors or indoors, which has become acutely kind of relevant unfortunately during, during COVID and what comes next, is it a formal space or is it sort of informal and messy? All of those variables are in the place category and we’re doing some research about those things.

So, if you take all three of those top one proper to me is the what and the how, as I said, and people is that who and place is the were so those are just sort of simple interrogative and you can use this as a checklist for thinking about the experience as we said from the visitor standpoint, holistically.

I’ll just run through another one. We’re going to be touching on today policies. What are the norms. What are the rules of engagement and this is going to become acutely vital and sort of complex during the reopening. Some of you have already reopened, I’m sure.

Price was a policy that we talked about a lot before COVID and it’s still going to be an issue and maybe a different issue now economic slump that is likely to follow and maybe very severe all of these set the tone sort of rules, the norms, they govern the kinds of experiences that people can have our expect to have in the space with the experience I know do that. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on here. One is promises which you can also think of as positioning. It’s the sort of language and you know, the vibe. You’re putting out the promises. You’re making about what the experience will be like and again, there’s a duality here. It’s not just what you say about yourself. It’s also about what others say about you and in most cases that speaks much louder. Right.

So, all of that, it’s going to shape, who shows up for what reasons what their expectations are. That’s all the promises. And then finally, not funny, but ultimately personality sort of the governing spirit, the presiding kind of attitude or vibe of the whole thing and I would just add that this is not merely a marketing notion infuses every other piece here, we should spend some time on it, but we can’t really today.

It’s the sensibility that determines so much of what the experience feels like and who it’s for.

And then I want to say a really important thing about purpose, which is that it’s the why right what are we doing here together is the sort of underlying question that visitors have, what are we trying to accomplish and in the past that needs to be taken for granted going into museum because the museum is an important thing to do. We’re going to learn something together.

It’s not clear that that’s enough. It’s not clear than it’s ever been enough for certain people it assumes that the value is intrinsic, and that the museum can be sort of where the museum experience can be divorced from the rest of life. And as we see on the streets last night and probably tonight, and for many nights.

Why is important. What, what might we be doing to have a purpose beyond the content itself?

Is the exhibition honoring first responders from the pandemic is it honoring medical personnel, is it raising money for a cause? Is there some social justice or political sort of spirit or purpose to the thing? Why, why is the exhibit and if it doesn’t, if there is no answer to that other than in terms of sort of self-justifying things, then you may not be relevant, or the experience may not be relevant to certain kinds of people in certain contexts. So, we’ll talk more about that.

 That’s the whole frame. And I think it’s just worth noting that today we’re going to be focusing on three people, place and policies, we’re going to get your insights in an interactive way using Zoom’s pole feature. We’ll get to that. And as we do, we’re going to be asking this question as we reopen, what do our visitors need from us and you should these three areas.

John. Do you want to pick up there, or…?

Jen Benoit-Bryan: Yeah, I’m happy to dive in. So as Peter mentioned we are working collaboratively with a number of partners. We all came together when COVID began to be such a large issue on our minds and was impacting arts and cultural organizations that we work with and care so much about to think about how we might be able to help and as researchers, the place where we can jump in and hopefully add value for all of you is through understanding audiences more deeply and in new ways. During this time, here, do you want to advance the slide or do I have control. Now I don’t have. Okay, there we go. Great. So I think Tim and Liz mentioned that look like a colon is a core partner, we’re collaborating on this research project together several Emma and Macaca colon, but there are a lot of other people who have been part of this community of getting this research to be broadly impactful and to have the range that we’re really looking for here, and that includes the National Opinion Research Center, the advisory board for the arts and welcoming consulting in terms of providing access to broader ranges of people that we wanted to hear from as well as a range of funders.

On the next slide, which included sort of initial and seed funding from the Wallace foundation to really get us started down this path, Tara foundation and art bridges have both jumped in to help support the work that we’re doing it, especially as it widened in scope and scale beyond what we initially anticipated.

Microsoft and focus vision have both provided really crucial in-kind support for us in terms of providing a survey software platform for over 100,000 respondents and in terms of dissemination tools to get information in the hands of arts and culture organizations.

And then the bar Foundation has most recently joined the group and putting funding towards a qualitative round of research and secondly of quantitative research. I’ll talk a little bit more and then there’s also mentioned one of an incredible group, we don’t have time to list them all now, but we really couldn’t do it without their insights.

Yep. And for hobbies at the top of that list. Absolutely. But there are many, many advisors who have helped us along the way. And just as a reminder from Tim. We have a Q&A tab at the bottom of your screen for zoom and we welcome you to put questions in there. Any point and Madeline will be helping us track those and kind of look for patterns and bring those back up to the speaker. So, if we go through something too quickly, or you have a question or a comment, please feel free to use that feature.

Just to give you a little background on this study.

Peter. Great. Thank you, sir. Okay, great.

Peter Linett: It’s just slow to okay.

Jen Benoit-Bryan: Great. So, when we started thinking about the design of this study. There were two main groups that we really wanted to hear from here. We wanted to understand the general public. What do they need, what are they doing, what are they looking for in culture, the role of arts and culture in their lives now?

But we also wanted to understand those fairly high affiliated groups who are who we know are attending cultural organizations, we wanted to understand both of those perspectives.

And where there’s overlap between them. And so, we developed a sampling technique where we could look both at the US general population as well as the respondents from the list of arts and cultural organizations. And so we put out an open call many of you took up that call I participated here, which we’re so thankful for any Arts and Cultural Organization to participate in this research for free, which just involves them sending this survey link out to a portion of their list and through that open call we received over , responses from the end 659 participating arts and cultural organizations which was way beyond what we had anticipated. When we first started to put this together.

The survey was in the field from April 29 through May 19, so it’s just been out for a little over a week now. And I will say that for those participating organizations, we will be sharing links to your data, specifically from this study later today. So, look, check out your, your emails, your inbox is let us know if you have questions, Madeline will be leading a webinar next Wednesday to kind of walk you through how to read that data output, but the first of a number of deliverables as part of this project.

So, the data that we’re sharing here is preliminary. It’s not an ad with fields for very long. And because it’s a complicated kind of sampling frame. There’s a lot of analysis that we’re doing to it.

So, what we’re sharing in this presentation is data from museum respondents only and there were over 100 museums that participated here, which made up 51,000 of the respondents I will say that that is disproportionately made up of art museums, there are 130 ish art museums in that sample. So, we will see that skewing potentially skewing some of the results towards Art Museum correspondence because this is such preliminary data. We’re not sharing it publicly it does reflect the biases of people who are on museum lists, including a much higher proportion of members and donors, then we would expect to see among general visitors.

We just want to caution you until the waiting is in place, we need to be really careful about what we take away from this data. We don’t want to interpret it as the opinion of the average museum attendees although we will get there with our analysis. And then, as I mentioned, we’re going to be starting in qualitative phase pretty immediately and then planning a wave to have the survey potentially in September.

Which would include some of the same questions so we can track change but also different questions that because we’ll be at a very different moment in this crisis at that point in time.

Great. So just diving into the data as a disclaimer, we went back and forth about how to share this data but ended up deciding to share it all up front, in part because we didn’t design the questionnaire around the six piece, but they’re very heavily reflected throughout every question. And so, we wanted to give you the full sense of the responses to a question, but there’s a really connections across all of the six P’s in the responses that are listed here.

So just a moment to think about the severity of the impact of code 19 on people who are on museum lists that three out of 10 and add a change to their income. And almost one in 10 have no income altogether. At this point, but in terms of emotional impacts that were half share, share that they’re more worried or afraid compared to before the pandemic. And one in seven of these people who are on your museum lists have been sick themselves or had close friends or family members who have been sick for you to coated so I’m taking a moment to think about the people who will be starting to walk through your doors and the things that you might be able to ask or the programming that you might want to provide for them having this context in mind is important to think about in terms of what they’re wanting more of it. We’ve got a delay.

Here we go. We started by asking them very broadly, what is it that they want more of in their lives right now, without the arts and culture context in place here just understanding what do they need and connection as Peter mentioned is at the top of this list at 63% very common, you’re going to see it come up over and over again through a number of these types of questions with different framing that connection to other people, is really at the heart of what people are missing what they’re needing more of what they want from arts and culture it’s central to people’s landscapes and kind of neat sets at this point, but also getting outdoors is really high on this list, followed by fun outdoors is, you know, can actually directly to that sense of place that Peter introduced and important to think about how that might be possible, especially given the kind of safety implications that indoor and outdoor spaces have differential levels.

And also, I think it’s notable to see humor here at 41% that that there’s some there’s a theme that runs throughout all of these responses to around escapism and wanting to be taken away from the worries or the carries of their normal lives. And I think humor can be a method of helping people escape or lightning their burdens and some ways.

So from there, we do have a little bit more deeply into what people miss most about the arts and culture organizations that are closed during coated and again at the top of this list, we see that spending time with others and sort of that sense of connection is the thing that really supersedes all the rest of what they’re missing from arts and cultural institutions, very interestingly 60% just a little bit below that is sort of experiencing these artworks performances or special specific performers in person.

Which I was a little surprised by wasn’t sure what to expect from these findings, but it feels like that’s often the kind of the stated purpose of these of arts and culture institutions is that sense of experience and the fact that missing people and missing that sense of connection is what’s at the top of the list here seems really notable and I think it’s worth thinking about in terms of programming. But you know, learning and experiencing something new is also important. I also see having fun is pretty essential here in broadening my perspective.

Sorry for the delay. So next I wanted to understand how could arts and cultural organizations help serve communities during this crisis and there was a response option here that basically said that’s not the role we don’t need arts and culture organizations to serve the community during this crisis, and that was selected by very few people instead, what we’re seeing is that people want arts and culture organizations to help them with this primary motivator that we’ve been talking about this feeling of connection that they’re craving and missing. But also, this sense of escapism. So some sense of distraction and I either through pleased with your programming. They want to get outside of their worlds.

Education, we know a lot of people are taking care of kids at home. Now in different ways and they would be normally and that really rises to the top here as well as looking ahead and planning for recovery and then that laughing and relaxing. I think can potentially connect to the escape as a mode of transmission there.

Peter Linett: Yes, culture has kind of relief because we’ve all been through. I’m only being lighthearted, but we’ve been through and maybe are still in a trauma collectively and there’s their various responses to that. One is the meat very human way and sort of natural right to laugh. Okay.

Jen Benoit-Bryan: Great. So just a little context here that not to surprisingly, the people who are on museum lists tend to think of arts and culture is very important. The numbers are lower for the general public. But there has been a bit of a drop here compared to before COVID the over three quarters still think that during a crisis. Arts and Culture organizations are very important, but it’s a little lower than it was before coated. That said, there perhaps because they care so much about arts and culture. There are some places where people are interested in change from arts and culture organizations. And so, we have next some responses, many of which really connect to this theme of people I, in my opinion, although their connection. Still a lot of the six piece here. But when we ask people what kinds of changes would make arts and culture organizations better for you and let them pick as many as they wanted to, we saw that support locally was pretty important supporting local artists treating employees fairly and equitably as well as broadening the landscape of who’s attending Museum. So more diverse voices and faces and higher level of friendliness all came up fairly highly here among know what kinds of change could make these organizations better for them personally going forward. And then as we pivot towards what people will do going in the future. We were very careful to really ground all of these questions very much in the now but this is one where we’re asking them, what are they excited now to do when they’re starting to be able to emerge again from isolation or quarantine or whatever situation they’re in, and again at the top of the list, getting together that sense of connection with people is a very high priority. But people also want to get outside of their homes, right, go to a bar restaurant, go to a park gardener su Art Museum is high here at 40%

A little lower for other museum types, which you can see listed on the bottom. And it’s a level of analysis that we plan to do where we know that art museum respondents are more heavily present in the sample. And so, we want to understand break the data up and look particularly at science or natural history museum visitors and understand, you know, where do they fall on that list when we get more specific about who were so more to explore here, but from initial indications, at least that museums are not super or, you know, are, are in the contenders among what people want to do pretty quickly.

But a note of caution here when the sermon people responded to the survey which range from a late April enter into mid-May at least on a five-point scale in terms of the extent to which audiences had begun to make plans to attend future arts and culture experiences over half for a one and not at all on that scale.

And very few are at the top end of that scale. That said, there were a lot of things that were closed during those times. And, you know, it may be that people would have made plans if there were things available. So, this is something that we certainly want to track and get a sense of how it might be shifting over time.

And then the last slide here is about things that could affect people’s decision to resume attending in person, arts and culture experiences and we let them. Choose five here. And I think what we have particularly notable is that among the five most commonly selected items here.

Three of them are directly under the control of the organization’s so increase cleaning for all touch surfaces enforcement of masks for visitors and then reduce emissions to limit crowding the COVID 19 vaccine is also in this top five, as well as the availability of immunity testing.

And because of the way this question was worded. We don’t know if any of these are sort of crucial preconditions for people, or any of these necessary. And others nice to have. We don’t have a good sense yet on what that hierarchy looks like, but it’s something that we want to work for there. But just as a note as museums are starting to think about reopening there are things that you can do that would be really helpful and influencing decisions to resume attending.

Peter Linett: Right. And we’ll be able to look at some of that more open ended. Liam kind of CO creatively in the qualitative research that’s coming on. And so, thank you, Jen. Back to the application of some of that insight to the three P’s that we’re going to focus on remember right, whatever our visitors need from us in these three areas. Let’s start with place. What are your visitors need to they need a safe place? Clearly, they do. What does that look like, do they need a shared, place your museum is based on all this data and maybe more for certain of you than others depending on your mission and sense of identity. They need a shared place they need something that is communal that allows them to connect to each other, who came together, but also potentially at the more sort of abstract level of connection to people. They didn’t know is it about any place but at home, do we need it to be not domestic because people have been in a domestic kind of lockdown. Does it need to be outdoors. Can you repurpose some outdoor spaces or makes new use of outdoor spaces and just physically doesn’t need to be a big place for staying apart?

Just a few things to see that part of the discussion with and Tim and Liz you all found some great examples there’s the yellow tape lines. This is the Gropius Museum in Berlin, there’s these chalk circles on the lawn and a park called domino park in Brooklyn. Anything you want to say about these or other examples that are on your mind.

Liz Kollmann:  I think one interesting example I’ve heard of recently and I think this is in a museum, maybe in Italy is these necklaces.

That people are wearing to let them know if they’re invading the social distancing

Peter Linett: Yes. Really cool. We’re going to show that actually so let’s do this zoom call um what kinds of changes is what kinds of changes are your resume considering in the area is considered um and I think Maddie is going to help us with the Paul. Is that right or listen to him?

Madeline Smith: I’ll be jumping into lunch it. Great.

Peter Linett: Thank you. So, we have a bunch of stems and it’s a select all right so what kinds of changes is your institution, considering in the area of place, and where you have others, please use the Zoom chat feature which I know many of you have been using abundantly reason minutes or is it the Q&A feature where would you like them to put other responses.

Tim Hallman: In the chat, please. Use the Q&A for questions about the presentation.

Peter Linett: Okay, great.

So, the chat feature for other answers here that are not listed in the closed ended systems and the Q&A for the questions that Matt is wrangling and we’re going to wrestle with at the end of this hour.

We’ll just give another seconds or so before we had this ball. Interesting that very few are not considering changes around place.

Okay, thank you for participating. Maddie, do you mind if we end the poll and share the results with everyone.

Madeline Smith: Sure.

Peter Linett: Great. My colleagues ANYONE HELP OUT HERE increase cleaning seems to be the first one and you all should have a window that pops up or is available to increase cleaning 96%. Absolutely. And of course, the museum sector is not the only sector that’s talking about that rental cars and hotels and restaurants, of course, what’s next. I limited occupancy at 91% of you thinking about that partitions. That’s it. No, sorry constraining visitor flow right outdoor spaces, creating and using outdoor spaces using partitions and dividers making this experience more welcoming making the space more welcoming through signage decoration and design really interesting

Tim Hallman: One of the things that I’ve been thinking about in terms of my reactivation of our museum is to signal a lot of these things before you even walk into the building that we are going to be a clean experience. We’re going to be a safe experience though.

The two examples with the circles and the Brooklyn Park and things like that clearly great signals that health and safety is a priority, not only a good day help mitigate the virus, but also just saying that your spaces. Well,

Peter Linett: Yes, absolutely. So, Tim, that’s hundred the p of promises, because you’re right. Doing it is not enough communicating that you are doing seems vital. Does anyone Maddie or others have access to the other comments.

5% of you said something other and I’d love to know something about what that feels like. What did we miss on this list?

Madeline Smith: Trying to scan us right now. But I think one thing that came up a few times with the other comments are those that have the opportunity between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Really utilizing those outdoor spaces, a lot more and limiting occupancy are closing all together, certain indoor spaces available.

I see great…

Peter Linett: Great. Okay. Well, we’re lucky to becoming as a country into the summer months. But it’s a bigger question in most regions, how that applies of course in the fall and next winter.

Madeline Smith: And of course, being indoors may lead to a

Peter Linett: Different level of spread, which I know everyone is worried about, okay, um, let’s shift to policies, this is related, of course, because cleaning as a policy as well. So, there’s plenty of overlap here.

But think about what your visitors need in their policies are is it should it be about encouraging safety or encouraging sociality engagement with each other in some way. And if so, what’s the if it’s both. What’s the tension or how did the to get navigated and prioritized, should it be about encouraging dialogue and emotional processing together. This is a tricky one because if you ask people whether they want this, they tend to say no. But they also tend to participate in ways that surprised, sometimes even though so there are ways of constructing participatory experiences of course around emotional processing, even if you don’t call it that.

Should your policies be about controlling behavior, ensuring piece how authoritarian should the vibe be when these museums free open should it be about encouraging celebration of some kind and release. We’re hoping we can finally come together or is there more of a sense of post traumatic moment and how we respect and honor that in the ways we set policies. This could go on and on. But what one other one that we talked about is agreement about conduct in advance. There are organizations of various kinds, asking people to sign a code of conduct, or at least agree to a code of conduct before they interact, which is a different kind of carrying of authority.

So, let’s do two examples. I will call your attention to be necklace that this museum director in Europe is wearing it is designed to vibrate and alert him. I think only him only to wear when as Liz was saying when you get to cross within two meters. And then on the bottom right, you see the zoo in San Antonio, which is conducted sort of reconfigured for drive through as you experience apparently really popular.

Any other examples there and Tesla’s anyone?

We can move on to this second poll. Then on policies, what kinds of changes because you’re busy. I’m considering in the policies so dive in and Maddie, we’d love your help.


Tim Hallman: It there as we wait for the results. You know, a lot of museums bad hands on tactile things that are museum, we have mobile devices and iPads for people to learn more dive deeper with an artwork words clearly hands on one of things we’re not sure if it’s going to be feasible, but do we have a staff member or volunteer there to push the buttons so that you do not have to do that as a visitor.

Right, so way of trying to keep that social engagement, but also the digital dive active still thinking about it, but you know what social distancing. How could it work and those kinds of things? It’s really an interesting challenge to navigate these things but continue to provide the experience that you’ve learned that people really.

Peter Linett: Yes, right. Someone was saying on Twitter over the weekend that I’m sorry I forgot who this was, if anyone knows, please, love it into the comments. That know no technology has moved from assets and liabilities more thoroughly and quickly in the history of technology, perhaps then touchscreen technologies are hands on interactive in science museums children’s museums, etc. So, I know a lot of tech firms are working toward touch list technologies interactions that are more gesture gestural, okay. Anyone need more time on the call. We have 306 folks who have logged into this poll and hear the responses seem to be more diverse Maddie, shall we end the poll and then we can share the results. Try. No problem.

Madeline Smith: Great.

Peter Linett: So, masks are the top one masks have become so political. So, it’ll be interesting to think about where and for whom masks are going to be uncontroversial as they are in the area. I happen to live in and where this might be a subject of tension so masks at 89% and then down to time and staggered entry again a police issue as well as the policy issue at 77% and then station in greeters to explain rules and or this code of conduct a 52% so at least half an exam seem to be considering that then there are other ones free or reduced price admission, we should talk about as a field about how the crisis and the economic challenges that are following it may affect people’s willingness to pay. And that is tied to the programmatic sense of relevance in that first P and then fever checks or other kinds of screening at the entrance lower at 19% extra request for donation. That’s interesting, encouraging dialogue at 13% so we’re seeing much of these, but more other responses here to any we bout to do there. And the review.

Madeline Smith: Some time to reflect some of the answer options that we have here, just this notion of having members be able to act as an EDM at certain time increased use of signage to help people to remember social distancing. And then a little bit of back and forth about what kind of protocols, the state or local government has released and how much they’re allowing those to guide their next step. Yeah. Very important, right, we’re not alone or isolated and making these decisions clearly their state and…

Peter Linett: Federal policy coordination’s that are relevant, but that one about members is fascinating. And I don’t know if you other if others of you have a thought. But there has been a fascinating, and really sort of courage and tension in music discourse between folks you want this to be a moment of transformation I count myself among them who don’t want to just see museums and other cultural organizations cater to the sort of disproportionately white wealthy educated older audience that they have long cater to that. This is a moment for equity thinking to dominate and for museums, among other organizations to welcome in newcomers. So, the emphasis on who’s already a member and giving them access is I’ll just say complicated happy to talk about that separately.

Madeline Smith: There come up please to say quickly Peter and we’re getting a lot of engagement in the chat. So, I’m catching up right now. One other thing that’s come up is orienting people in this one way of walking through space. And one way of making your way through a space only that I think would be interesting to think about…

Peter Linett: Sure, unidirectional sort of a constraint pathway. Right. And we did see a little bit about previous Paul. That’s right. Right.

Jen Benoit-Bryan: So I really interesting theme here, which I’m seeing in other industries and context to is about how much do you think about providing virtual continue to provide virtual engagement for those who have stepped up in that area for those who may not yet be comfortable engaging with you in person yet while still really focusing on this immense project and reopening safely and try to you direct your resources among those two priorities.

Peter Linett: Yeah, and as Jen knows and Maddie have to of course we had a whole set of questions to get at digital engagement for whom it’s who is aware, for whom it’s working because there’s been an enormous proliferation of digital offerings, but nobody really knows much about the demand side of the equation. So, we’re going to be quantifying that and we’re just beginning analysis of all this.

Okay, so that’s policies, we have one more to go through and then we want to get to your questions and some kind of closing remarks. This one is more complicated. So, in the area of people, we’re going to look at two slides here and then asked one integrated poll question about them, as I said, it’s not just your team, let’s, let’s start with that. What are your visitors need from your team broadly defined, is it about people in the museum experience who are there for empathy to facilitate dialogue to ask questions?

Should it be about being extra welcoming especially newcomers. And this gets to the question about equity and inclusion that I was asking is it about controlling behavior. The authority. We mentioned the enforcement of rules are the people there in some way to represent diversity and be welcoming in a different sense than their own demeanor.

Are they there to ask for your support, because of course the institution’s themselves are struggling you know, we should quantify that as well? And I know other surveys are being done of providers of the field practitioners and so with all that in mind, let’s do, oh, sorry for we’d go to the poll. What do your visitors need from each other is the other side of the people equation. Do they need connection. Clearly there’s an impulse for that. But what’s that about is about sharing experiences is about as I say, another bullet here collective humor catharsis laughing together after all the laughter is a social phenomenon.

Is it about just space and distance, do they need to give each other space and what does that look like and how do you set it up?

Do they need communal processing of some kind and good or do they need celebration, as we discussed before? So, when you think about training of your staff and volunteers in the whole equation, whether that’s, you know, the admissions desk with a membership desk.

Or whether that’s in the galleries or afterward in the restaurant and shop even what are the sort of priorities that you want to encourage your people to represent and to get them get and be good at.

So just a couple of examples from the web. One is, you know, the sort of authority and the reminder of hey, where are your masks. This is a museum and it’s actually up to historic temple in Japan. And then what about these discussion groups in the bottom right, you see a pre coated picture from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. I think we saw someone is on this from Walters. This is not during but might look something like what happens after the pandemic, or at least in not normal that follows and it may be about connecting and talking and having it out together. And one could see this as both political and psychological

So, what should the policy, the sort of people equation being here. So that’s the third zoom pole, what kinds of changes is your museum considering in the area of people again think about you and them side of it and here’s the pole. Thank you. Manny

Jen Benoit-Bryan: Well, people are taking the poll, Peter, just to give you a sense of a few of the questions. Some, some of which I’m just answering as they come in, they have to do with the national research, but some could spark interesting conversation.

In the future, in part, about one from arena, which talks about how many of these policies will require some policing of visitors and how do you think about doing that without triggering some of them. How do you think about making sure that rules are respected with safety in mind? And I think that’s a really important one and a complicated one. And then also this question about interactive museums and is there sort of a higher bar. Is there a different future that we might imagine for some of these interactive museums that have hands on elements that really at their core?

Peter Linett: Right, or even an immersive physically interactive moments one thinks of the City Museum in St. Louis. Of course, one thinks of me, alcohol, which is here in Santa Fe, but had building projects and for other cities, just as the pandemic hit was it like to crawl through spaces together or to crowd around you know, an object or being a small immersive environment, these multi-sensory physical environments are quite hard to imagine in least in the coming phase transitional though that may be, but I’d love this question about authority and leasing the field has moved over many years from sort of treating visitors. And this is actually another quote for his domineering of her very important article from I think 1999 strangers guests and clients. We’ve moved collectively over the decades.

From a sense that the visitors are there as our as our guests and meant to sort of be people like to the institution to be centered around as a person what they need, as our clients.

Summarizing that shift right but it does, it does require a rethink right now to be able to save visitors. If you want to come in here, you must do X, Y, and Z or you must commit to doing that.

Okay, this is great. So, we have several hundred poll responses here already.

I suppose let’s end it here and share it and we can move on. We have 10 minutes left of the panel.

Great sharing the results of the top one in orange. You see there is special training at 4% are considering special training.

So, the question is, what that’s going to be like, and how we can do it in a way that both empowers the staff and colleagues, we have and the volunteers, but also treats the humanity of the visitors as well as the safety of the visitors as a high priority.

The next one down is increased focus on welcome and making newcomers feel welcome and comfortable currently at %

That resonates. The museum is not just for those who for him. It has always been a kind of relevant and safe space, it’s also for people who may not have found itself in the past.

And then tied for sort of third here new guidelines about tone or demeanor. So, the carriage, and that sort of facial expressions, the attitude of the of the folks on the staff and the volunteers matters here to that’s fascinating and an increased focus on diversity and inclusion among the visitors themselves at 30% slightly lower on the others.

And interestingly 60% of you said that you’re considering are discussing special days or programs for first responders and frontline personnel. Something I tell you is all in the performing arts as a kind of reopening gesture toward acknowledging the crisis and thanking the folks who have been helping. That’s great. Any comments, my colleagues on this.


Tim Hallman: Tim here. Started pop up a couple of times is a for the first few days that you reopen dedicating them to members, which actually is, I think, a wonderful way if you do some training to test it on your members, the reaction. These are people that love you and aren’t afraid to give you good feedback.

So that’s a one thing that I saw that I would, I think, almost every museum is probably going to need to consider doing, and then another thought. Peter of the in the San Francisco museums. Many are considering a closing an extra day, usually, there’s least one day you’re closed but closing the second day and using that for accessibility, whether it’s for now I just for those first responders, or whatever. But people that need extra time and care of whatever, just to give yourself and then a lot more room and time to accommodate.

Peter Linett: So, it’s not closed on those days. It’s actually repurposed from the point of view of audience. Is that right, it’s…?

Tim Hallman: It’s close to the public but repurposed for special engaged.

Peter Linett: Fantastic. That’s a lovely time. Anything else before we move on.

Okay, thank you. Okay, so I guess one final thought for me is just about you know about purpose really and what might become even more important programming is a whole other conversation.

Particularly the form side of programming, but also in the post commit era, how one chooses content will people be drawn to sort of safe spectacle like things that kind of called blockbuster exhibitions for many years in the field. We’ve seen some dialogue in the field about how that’s not the way to go. Now, so relevance, both on the form side and the contents on the programming is an issue, but I really think that purpose is, as I said earlier, going to become really not an afterthought, and not a kind of hidden principle, but a core visible principle.

Because this crisis may force museums to acknowledge that they’re not some separate rarefied realm of experience that is valuable automatically or for its own sake that we need to earn relevance by doing work in the world and in our communities and I won’t lecture further about that. I apologize but the notion of making purpose visible is, I believe, only going to get much more important as we go forward.

And let’s talk about some of those questions we have about six minutes left. And then, of course, hope to continue. Some of this online as well. And someone feed us or seed. Some questions in here. I’ve not been able to monitor the chat.

Madeline Smith: So, one please.

Tim Hallman: Thanks, Maddie Isabel Diaz. So, what does the near future look like for interactive museums. What does reopening look like I think you’ve touched on that Peter, but maybe just a final thought.

Peter Linett: Well, we talked about touch list a little bit, but I’m not. I don’t claim any special expertise there. I just think that, you know, the weariness is his attention for people. They’re ambivalent they want to do this thing that they know is meaningful to them and they want to do it in a social way.

But social is dangerous. Now, even from the point of view of touching something that someone else just touched my colleagues may have other thoughts, Jen.

Jen Benoit-Bryan: Now, I think there’s still a lot to learn there honestly and it’s some of the questions that we’ve gotten about what we’re curiosities about what things will look like after Kofi are some of the questions that I’ve been trying to answer and really situate this and the fact that, in this first wave of research, we’re really asking about people’s contexts during the crisis and the fact that there’s not a clear end date to this crisis makes it a little hard to draw a line between, you know, how are people behaving before after coven, but I think it will be more of an evolving.

Picture rather than a kind of one to comparison point here, but as institutions start to reopen, I think the kinds of questions that we can and should be asking will become more specific here. And many of our science museum colleagues, including Liz and her colleagues that Mo, so have asked us those very questions. You know, there we know that it’s crucial to understand what that looks like. And so, I’m hoping that in the second wave of research. We can get you more specific, concrete actionable data there as people start to re-engage in these new ways.

Liz Kollmann: I was just going to add that. Yeah. I mean, we’ve been thinking about this a lot at the Museum of Science, we are going through all of our exhibits just to think about how interactive, are they and what ways are they interactive and those that feel more dangerous, we will remove so once where maybe you in the past would have put your face up against it, but we were not going to remove all of our interactive and you know we’re following you know what the CDC and others are saying about how you know it’s the transmission through touch isn’t as bad as you know through the aerosols. So, we’re gonna have provide lots of options for cleaning hands, I think.

Peter Linett: Right, yeah. And if you think about our sort of client portfolio in the world of culture, right, the nonprofit arts and culture sector.

Are performing arts clients are in in a worse position right now visa be reopening that any museum, even the most interactive museum, perhaps not the physically immersive ones, but if you’re a Carnegie Hall, or if you’re the Music Center in LA your business model is premised on people sitting right next to each other. And right behind and in front of each other. So, I’m going to send a classical music concert maybe less interactive or participatory but from a COVID standpoint.

It’s too many breaths into smaller volume of space. So, they will be opening it sounds like a good bit later maybe months or even a year later than some of the museums. And there’s a question here that I want to just quickly answer that says, um, you mentioned members only benefit as members only benefits as a concerning thought in light of equity climate, how would you suggest them support our members and not exclude others.

One answer to that could be involving members in the cause of helping the community. Like, what does it mean to really be a member? It’s not just access to your museum for free or for a blanket year it’s something about joining you in the work the resume, potentially, and that work could be focused on one of the purposes that we talked about much

Much more to say about that on occasion.

Madeline Smith: One question I found interesting that I thought you might want to respond to Peter was somebody asked earlier about what participants mean by staying connected and what that might look like in a museum.

And then secondly, any thoughts you have about museums feeling equipped to support these connections, many of which come during a time of emotional trauma.

Peter Linett: Right, well the exhibit that everyone talks about still because it hasn’t really been replicated in other topic areas is The Science Museum of Minnesota race exhibition which featured as a core part of the experience talking circles at the end of the exhibit and I showed an example of visitors who didn’t know each other beforehand, talking to each other out. The Walters I really think that some kind of you know, rec peace and reconciliation sort of training would be useful to help museums, think about how to foster dialogue and how to build it into the experiences. We’re not great at it, in part because museums have been enlightenment rational institutions that are mostly about sort of dispassionate fact, and in some cases, transparency and just letting the art speak for itself. But we’re less good at modeling and working with the emotions of our users. And this if you know current contemporary cultures and sign there will be a lot of emotion that people have just the one of the surface or even bubbling up in museum visit. So, question is how to use that as part of the experience to create meaning.

Jen Benoit-Bryan: We haven’t.

Madeline Smith: There’s…

Jen Benoit-Bryan: A question about national study results from whether or not they’ll be available to all people. And I just wanted to chime in and say that look out the coin will be the ones who are helping to develop this report in collaboration with us and it will, there will be two different public reports a top line that will be available.

On the culture track Corbett study website, which I’ll link to in the chat as well as a more in depth report the top line will be available at the end of June, and then the more in-depth report at the end of July with lots of different splits by different variables of interest.

Peter Linett: Yes, and all the media side, I just want to thank. Also, I don’t know if Beth, you’re on the best Elizabeth Merritt, who runs the Center for the Future of Museums has been one of the advisors and just a key thought partner, as you know, in thinking about adaptation and innovation museum field and where we can begin to borrow best and emerging practices. So, thank you. And there are other museums represented on that advisory group museum directors, for example, in various ways.

We have hands raised. Anyone else, Tim and lose house there is that you may want to take the fact that it is now 131 Central time. Do we need to wrap?

Tim Hallman: I’ll ask Christina from AAM if we have to wrap it up but while I do that, I do want to, on behalf of pram, I want to thank care for being a great partner in this and then really a kudos to slow Berlin at La Placa Cohen and the funders of this research. We are in uncertain times and for you to be nimble and smart and quick to quickly assemble the survey get partners to participate. Get us really wonderful data that we can use to add clarity to our work. It’s a great service to the field. So, thank you for that wonderful work.

Peter Linett: Now you, yeah.

Liz Kollmann:  I was just going to echo Tim and say thank you to pram, it’s a Peter and Jen for doing this. And I know we have to head off. And I’m going to set the next panel can get ready.

Peter Linett: Yeah, I want to thank was Tim especially and their respective committees and yes, the funders have been very generous and everyone has been sort of gathering in a communal way to help build this picture. You know, most of you know that ours is not the only research study that’s being done around the country right now for are many that mainstream sort of traditional market research to more sector and geographically specific research to studies that have been done in Europe, etc. And we know that we’re all contributing we’re trying to contribute to the field sort of self-knowledge right now because the only way to get through this all is to listen to our, our constituents our audiences in our communities and try to be responsive to their needs and CO creative with them. So that’s the spirit here and you know it’s been a pleasure to share this today as well.

Tim Hallman: We didn’t get a lot of questions about with this presentation be available, I believe it was recorded. Looks like we just got cut off.

But I think it is available to everyone in some capacity. I don’t know how to get it to you, but it’s probably gonna be on the AM side. Thanks everybody.

Peter Linett: Yes, thank you all.

Jen Benoit-Bryan: For coming

Good night.

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