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Audience Research and Evaluation

The Alliance has compiled this set of audience research and evaluation resources from amongst its own offerings as well as those throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.

Alliance Resources

Building Audiences

Based on our work with the Wallace Foundation, here is a portion of our website devoted to building cultural audiences using audience research and evaluation.

Lessons Learned from Five Decades of Experience in Visitor Studies

The Alliance provides a handout from its 2013 annual meeting, which includes first-hand accounts of lessons learned in visitor studies including advocating for quality visitor experiences, conducting visitor evaluation and carrying out visitor research in museums.

Making Evaluation Practices Work in Real-Time

The Alliance provides a handout from its 2013 annual meeting, which offers a glimpse of how some projects and organizations are integrating evaluative thinking and practices into their daily work and product development processes. The session handouts focus on sharing different ways of facilitating learning and evaluation capacity-building, with an emphasis on sharing the products of those labors.

Sample Documents

The Alliance provides Tier 3 museum members with sample evaluation materials.

Unintentional Lessons from Visitor Surveys

The Alliance provides a handout from its 2013 annual meeting, which explains the process of implementing a survey to provide insight into who visitors are and how they want to communicate with the institution. The session provided group discussion and problem-solving of scenarios.

Welcoming Guidelines for Museums

The LGBTQ Alliance shares guidelines intended to provide institutions and members of the museum community with a series of parameters, which they may consider when assessing how to provide the LGBTQ community—staff, visitors, management, and allies from all fields—with a welcoming experience. (PDF, 64 pages)

Other Resources

Art Museums and Technology Developing New Metrics to Measure Visitor Engagement

This is how one institution developed a methodology to research and evaluate their ARTLENS Gallery Experience.

Basic Guide to Program Evaluation (Including Outcome Evaluation)

The Free Management Library provides guidance on planning and implementing an evaluation process for programs. The resource includes information about collecting information, evaluation planning, reporting results and common pitfalls to avoid.

Guiding Principles for Evaluators and the Educational Evaluation Standards

The American Evaluation Association presents its Guiding Principles for Evaluators and the Educational Evaluation Standards developed by a joint committee.

Visitor Studies Manual

Created for the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) as a part their Deepen the Participation of Museum Visitors, Donors and Stakeholders project, this evaluation resource tool provides an outline and description of how to conduct visitor surveys.

Voices from the Museum: Qualitative Research Conducted in Europe’s National Museums

In this 2012 working paper (EuNaMus WP6), from the European National Museums Jocelyn Dodd, Ceri Jones, Andy Sawyer & Maria-Anna Tseliou, the authors present findings of qualitative research on how six European museums are aiding in creating European cohesion.

Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences

The Wallace Foundation shares a number of case studies based on its popular Road to Results series. These case studies include rich examples examining ways in which the Wallace’s supported arts organizations conducted research and used that information to shape audience building.

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