Community & Audience Engagement Assessment
This assessment focuses on the museum’s awareness and understanding of, and relationship with, its various communities and audiences; and their perception of, and experience with, the museum. It looks at what roles the museum plays in its community and vice versa. And it helps the museum look at its culture and actions when it comes to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion—all of which impact its long-term financial sustainability.
A Community & Audience Engagement assessment helps museums gather better input from their constituents, develop a more nuanced view about the community’s and audiences’ demographics and needs, respond to the changing nature of its audiences, and incorporate these findings into planning and operational decisions.
This assessment may improve ability to:
- potential audiences
- create collaborations to address community needs
- design audience evaluation plans
- improve visitor services
- align audience needs with exhibitions and programming
- write/review/revise policies and procedures
- develop a long-range interpretive plan
- Prepare for core document verification, accreditation or re-accreditation
This assessment will examine:
- What your community knows and thinks about the museum
- What you know about your community and how
- Who comes to/engages with your museum and why/why not, and how you know
- How/what data you gather
- Barriers to reaching your target audiences
- DEAI issues: How do you reflect your community; what are the opportunities for community engagement/voice with the museum (board service, a voice in programming, etc.); do messaging, branding, and other outward facing activities inclusive, equitable, and accessible?
- Plans and policies
- Strategic partnerships/relationships
- The visitor experience / visitor services
- Allocation of organizational resources
Like all MAP assessments, this one:
- Is grounded in the Core Standards
- Includes Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) issues as they relate to the assessment focus
- Helps museums look at both functional and strategic aspects of their operations
- Uses an online platform to move through modules with narrated presentations, resources, and required activities throughout the entire year
- Requires an internal MAP team to lead the museum and be responsible for the bulk of the online work, required activities, site visit organization and action plans
An important component of each assessment is the MAP Workbook, which contains data gathering questions, team discussion questions, team activities, articles and more. The museum’s MAP Team works on the workbook throughout the year. Review the Sample Community & Audience Engagement MAP Workbook Outline to learn more.
- Review the main MAP Eligibility Requirements.
- Your institution MUST have a formal and approved mission statement which has been recently reviewed.
- Prior completion of an Organizational Assessment is encouraged but not required.
- Someone on its internal MAP Assessment Team with experience with self-assessment and/or working on projects that involve outside stakeholders is strongly recommended.
- An established process for institutional/strategic planning already in place is strongly recommended.
- Ensure that your institution and key stakeholders are committed to a year long process of assessment and taking action.