Art Museums

Museum of International Folk Art

Santa Fe, NM — PPDR has enjoyed a 23-year relationship with MOIFA, studying visitor experience and perceptions. Most recently, we were fortunate to be involved in the reopening of “Lloyd’s Treasure Chest” with a reinvented concept that blends collections, hands-on interactives, and creative debates about ‘what is folk art?’; a decade earlier, we had conducted Formative Evaluation on the original ‘open storage’ concept. We also conducted an Evaluation of Visitor Experience in the popular Girard Wing recently, to help consider interpretive innovations for this key part of the Museum. To explore the potential interest as well as the likely understanding of a proposed exhibition concept about cochineal red dye, we conducted Front-end Research investigating visitors’ awareness, order of storyline, and perceptions of the historic-to-contemporary connections. After opening, we conducted a Summative Evaluation of the resulting exhibition, “The Red the Colored the World,” involving humanities themes, art and science. Earlier projects included Storyline Testing for the exhibition “Epic Stories, Dancing Shadows,” based on Wayang Kulit, an art form of Indonesian puppets and gamelan music (awarded Best Exhibit of the Year by AAM), and a Summative Evaluation for the temporary exhibition “Dream On: Beds from Asia to Europe,” a first about beds and their cultural variations (sleeping high, low and on the move).

Weir Farm

Ridgefield, CT — PPDR was hired to conduct an Analysis of Strategies for Engaging Audiences through comparable projects for interpretive planning. The goal for this National Park Service National Historic Site — a rural retreat for American painters in the early 20th Century — was to create more art-stimulating experiences for visitors, both inside and out in the landscape. Collaborated with EDX Design, Seattle WA.

Museum of Fine Arts

Boston, MA — Our assignment began with a critique of seven years of visitor studies by two other firms, then led to a four-season Visitor Analysis of who’s coming, their motivations, patterns of use of the museum space, and other topics. We also conducted a membership study, including an experiment about members donating to the annual fund drive.

Springfield Museums

Springfield, MA — Awarded a planning grant by IMLS, the Springfield Museums began considering how to re-envision the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum to stimulate attendance, define the identity and make a clearer interpretive experience for this collector’s museum. After their ‘Big Idea Summit’, we designed Visitor Research, including in-person interviews and online questionnaires, to define likely audiences and to investigate possible interpretive themes.

Florence Griswold Museum

Old Lyme, CT — To investigate the awareness, interests and public image among different audience segments, we conducted Community Audience Research for this multi-faceted museum that includes art galleries, creative outdoor exhibits, and a historic house — the setting for an early 20th Century summer art colony that became the birthplace of American Impressionism.

Tufts University Art Gallery

Medford, MA — An Audience Research Plan was completed for this museum, summarizing and prioritizing key issues about visitor experiences and multiple audiences. The plan was designed to allow museum staff (collaborating with other campus resources) to conduct visitor research in an organized way.

Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, MA — Our Storyline Testing was used to investigate visitors’ likely perceptions of contemporary Native American art for an exhibition called “Shapeshifting.” This method allowed an analysis of proposed interpretive strategies.

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Ridgefield, CT — We conducted two-phases of Audience Research — a thorough analysis of visitors and their reasons for visiting, and a community-based study of the public’s awareness of the museum and interest in contemporary art.

Arkell Museum

Canajoharie, NY — Audience Research using a community survey and focus groups, helped this new museum, formerly a gallery of the town library, plan educational programs.