Association of African American Museums, Washington D.C.: This professional association is seeking to provide greater leadership to the field of African American museums. This year we completed a 2-year national needs assessment of African American museums, libraries and archives and of AAAM individual members to inform strategic planning for the Association. The findings were announced at the annual conference and led to volunteers for working groups to address a variety of initiatives.
Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, NY: Following the completion of a spectacular new exhibition, “Life in the Adirondacks” earlier in the summer season, we conducted a two-method visitor study to explore publicity awareness, decisions to visit the Museum due to knowledge of the new exhibition, and satisfaction with the experience.
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix AZ: The Education Department of this botanic garden is reaching out into its community and promoting the idea of sustainable landscapes in a challenging dry climate. Their strategy is to create a virtual internship for high school students to gather information from community sources and propose a beneficial greenspace on a parcel of vacant land. We conducted a front-end study to help the Garden assess students’ readiness for and interest in an online internship.
The Ecotarium, Worcester MA: After opening a family-friendly interactive exhibition,“City Science: the Science You Live,” this nature /natural history /science museum engaged us to investigate visitor experience. The expressed goal was to choose a small number of the 27 components for a traveling exhibition, but the data also helped to define how and why the exhibition was so family-friendly, and reflected well on the idea of recognizing science in everyday life.
Levine Museum of the New South, Charlotte NC: This Museum is unusual in its spirit of connecting to its community, past and present, featuring social issues as well as economic development. The new Director asked us for a thorough analysis of the Museum’s public image, including whether they should be marketing for awareness or for motivation, their reputation in the community, and public interests that could connect to future programming. Our quantitative study of ~ 700 households is answering critical questions about the Museum’s relationship to its audiences.
Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe NM: We were fortunate to be involved in two great projects: (1) 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?’; and (2) an evaluation visitor experience in the popular Girard Wing to help consider interpretive innovations for this key part of the Museum.
Nurture Nature Center, Easton PA: Using a theme of ‘6 degrees of influence’ NNC was awarded a highly competitive grant by NASA to design and implement a Science On a Sphere program for middle school students to raise their awareness and understanding of the interconnectedness of Earth systems. It’s a lofty goal, but they are using our front-end research and formative evaluation to inform their process. The program is to be offered at the Nurture Nature Center, the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore and the Math Science Innovation Center in Richmond, VA.
Polly Hill Arboretum, Martha’s Vineyard MA: This organization began its exploration of visitor studies with a one day workshop, learning about the variety of purposes and methods that help organizations to better connect with their visitors, and then they developed and practiced skills in problem-solving strategies. Their enthusiastic participation included staff, Board members, and volunteers, and led to defining two priorities that they will act on in the coming year.
The Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose CA: For the past few years, The Tech has been moving in the direction of more open-ended exhibit experiences, and now they want to try this with biology. Adjacent to BioDesign Studio, they’ve created a “bio-tinkering” lab space (funded by NIH, SEPA) to test out various activities, in partnership with a science program at Stanford University. We began front-end research and formative evaluation for the “Bio-tinkering Lab,” focusing on the opinions of middle school aged children visiting in family groups. The first project involves working with bio-ink created by bacteria.
University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett RI: We continued with front-end research for the Northwest Passage Project (NPP), an unusual National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project that’s creating a research expedition into the Arctic’s Northwest Passage, to engage high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in hands-on research. One study investigated the knowledge and perceptions of college students who had applied to participate in the expedition, to assess their initial level of awareness of Arctic and climate science. Another study involved audiences at three informal science education partners (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, The Exploratorium, Alaska Sea Life Center) to help museum staff plan for a series of live broadcasts from the ship during the expedition (which is scheduled for October 2018).
Association of African American Museums (AAAM): Completed a Needs Assessment for this museum-service organization, taking a national perspective on African American museums as well as individual members (in-museum staff as well as independent professionals, students, and other members).
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Dayton OH: Completed a summative evaluation of Exoplanets – a NASA-funded exhibition about the science and technology behind the search for planets elsewhere in the universe.
Friends of the Public Garden, Boston MA: Conducted a 3-season user analysis of the Boston Common (adjacent to the Boston Public Garden) to provide systematic data that will inform an upcoming master plan, on issues such as how is the Common being used? who are the audiences and where do they come from? what improvements do people think are needed, and how are the perceptions of tourists different from local residents?
Las Cruces Museum System, Las Cruces NM: Completed a multi-faceted study with the goal of making a stronger connection with local Latino-Hispanic-Mexicano residents, using community input and audience analysis to develop possible concepts for a new exhibition about Las Cruces (collaborating with Tey Marianna Nunn of the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque).
Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward AL: Conducted formative evaluation of prototype interactive exhibits for a proposed expansion of the National Park Visitor Center. The evaluation included observation and interviewing of visitors, investigating how well the prototype exhibits communicated key concepts (with Amaze Design, Boston MA).
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC: Completed a three-phased African Diasporic Audience Research Project to inform the Museum’s thinking and program planning about African diasporic audiences in the Washington DC area (especially people who do not identify themselves as African American).
University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett RI: Conducted a national public survey about climate change in the Arctic, as ‘front end’ research for a tall ship expedition to the Northwest Passage in August 2017 (NSF-funded, involving minority and underserved mostly-college-students as science interns and onboard communicators of STEM content to public audiences). The survey was designed for two purposes: inform the planning of media associated with the expedition (documentary film, website), and serve as a baseline for a later summative evaluation.
Weir Farm, Ridgefield CT: Conducted a review of literature and comparable projects for interpretive planning of this National Park Service National Historic Site – a rural farm setting which was a retreat for American painters in the early 20th Century; now the goal is to create a more art-stimulating experiences for visitors, both inside and out in the landscape (collaborated with EDX Design, Seattle WA).
The Newark Conservancy, Newark NJ: Evaluating a school-group program, Urban Habitats, to see what educational value it has for 2nd and 3rd graders, and if it’s engaging.
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC:
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate, Boston MA: Completed a visitor experience study for this new museum, to investigate visitors’ satisfaction, extent of exhibit use, and perceptions of interpretive messages.
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix AZ: Completed two visitor studies. 1) An interpretive orientation experiment that tested three different entrance experiences with varying amounts and types of signage, focused on introducing visitors to the ‘big idea’ and some different interpretive themes; 2) A study of visitors’ reactions to a mock-up of a display planned for the new horticultural center. Staff had concerns about a potential dilemma, and needed information in order to proceed with planning.
The National Aquarium, Baltimore MD: Conducted a multi-method summative evaluation of a new gallery, Living Seashore, focusing on extent of exhibit use, interactions between visitors and interpreters at the touchpool, satisfaction, and perceptions of conservation messages.
The Freedom Trail, Boston MA: Completed an analysis of Eastern Massachusetts residents’ perceptions, use, and recommendations of this historic Trail in Boston. Also conducted a 3-season visitor study about visitor experience issues.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh PA: Assisted with a remedial evaluation of the exhibition, “Dinosaurs in Their Time,” focusing on perceptions of key messages.
Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe NM: Conducted a summative evaluation of the exhibition, “The Red that Colored the World.”
Association of African American Museums (AAAM): Conducting a Needs Assessment for this museum-service organization, taking a national perspective on African American museums as well as individual independent professionals.
National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME): Analyzed members’ perceptions of the journal “Exhibitionist” to assist with expanding the subscription base.
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Dayton, OH: Completed a remedial evaluation of the “Exoplanets Exploration” exhibition in the fall of 2014, shortly after the exhibition was installed. A formative evaluation of the exhibition was completed in 2013 and a summative evaluation is scheduled for 2015.
Boston Children’s Museum (BCM), Boston, MA: Conducted a front-end study to inform the development of a potential exhibit tentatively called “What’s for Dinner?” about food and good nutritional habits.
Boston Children’s Museum (BCM), Boston, MA: Contributed to the planning process for a new initiative in the Museum’s ongoing commitment to showing diverse cultures – in this case, Children of Hangzhou, about Chinese culture. At first, we consulted on the development of LXB: The League of Extraordinary Bloggers, an app targeting children 8-12 years old. The App was developed in collaboration with four other museums with Asian galleries, and its main draw is a mystery game about four Asian cultures: China, Japan, South Korea, Viet Nam. At BCM, the app is connected to the Children of Hangzhouexhibition, which is being evaluated in anticipation of the installation at several sites around the US, beginning in the coming year. (continues in 2015)
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix AZ: The Garden is undertaking an Interpretive Master Plan (funded by an IMLS grant). The Interpretive Planner is Judy Rand (Rand & Associates, Seattle) and we are assisting with the process by conducting two rounds of visitor research.
The Discovery Museum, Acton MA: To assist the museum in planning for a new indoor/outdoor exhibit (The Big Treehouse), we conducted focus groups with members, and designed a study of visitor expectations, interest, and reactions to potential nature-based activities.
History Colorado Center, Denver CO: This reinvented history museum is continually considering new ideas for exhibits. We designed and completed a study to examine visitor reactions to a proposed concept including overall themes and specific stories about notable Coloradans.
Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia PA: This museum on the Delaware River offers exhibits and tours of a WWII submarine and an 1892 warship. A two-season visitor study was conducted to profile the audience and to assess interest in interpretive themes and future exhibit ideas, to assist with the master planning process.
Thomas Jefferson’s ‘Poplar Forest’, Lynchburg, VA: This historic site undertook to develop an Interpretive Master Plan (funded by an IMLS grant). The Interpretive Planner was the 106 Group and we participated as presenters in workshops conducted for Poplar Forest staff, volunteers and board members, and conducted two rounds of visitor research: one an audience study and the a study focused on interpretive concept testing. We also produced a study of comparable sites to inform interpretive planning.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC: Conducting a summative evaluation of a temporary exhibition, Some Were Neighbors, focusing on the messages perceived by teens visiting in school groups, and how it relates to their lives today. A multi-method (qualitative and quantitative) study was implemented, working jointly with MEM and Associates. (continues into 2015)
University of Wisconsin, CMIS-SSEC, Madison WI: Continuing work on a NOAA-funded project to provide updated datasets to all Science On a Sphere (SOS) sites (science museums, nature centers, etc.). Study in process on the level of awareness and extent of use of current ‘Earth Now’ datasets among sites in the SOS Network.
Wildlife Conservation Society, Congo Gorilla Forest Revisited, Bronx NY: What are visitors’ perceptions of this exhibition 15 years after opening? Is it still as enjoyable and as effective in conveying conservation messages as it was in the 2000 summative evaluation?
Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver CO: Conducted a summative evaluation of DMNS’ programming for Science-On-a-Sphere (SOS) funded by NASA. DMNS offers visitors a rare combination of three different types of SOS programming: scripted shows, docent facilitated experiences, and self-guided (with auto-run playlists and added interpretive text and graphics on flat screen monitors).
Crow Canyon Archeological Center, Crow Canyon CO: This organization sought a partner to bring its Village Ecodynamics Project research (about the Mesa Verde region) to public attention, and with funding from NSF, Crow Canyon archaeologists worked with History Colorado and the Science Museum of Minnesota to develop a touch-screen computer program to be presented in the Living West exhibition at History Colorado. Our formative evaluation helped to clarify the audience to design for, and informed decisions about the interpretive structure of that interactive program.
The Hermitage: Andrew Jackson’s Homestead, Nashville TN: Conducted a survey of local membership to test and analyze reactions to potential program ideas – The Hermitage’s “Engaging Our Neighbors” project (funded by IMLS).
History Colorado, Sand Creek Massacre, Denver CO: : Among the exhibits at this newly reinvented history museum was the story of Sand Creek: a massacre of Native Americans by US Army troops in 1864; our summative evaluation was used in negotiations with the northern Cheyenne and Arapaho nations to decide on revisions to the exhibition.
Louisiana State Museum, Living With Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond, New Orleans LA: During 2013 we completed six years of evaluation activities for “Living With Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond” – an NSF-funded permanent exhibition about the historical precedents, the chaotic aftermath, the science behind hurricanes, the recovery process and implications for future planning. The last phase of the evaluation process was a ‘longitudinal evaluation,’ contacting people who saw the exhibition from 6 months to 2 years later, investigating their perceptions of hurricanes and how that relates to their lives.
National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC: For its 10th anniversary, NMAI is planning to install a new exhibit about treaties. In collaboration with the design firm Reich + Petch and Hadley Exhibits, we designed a study to examine visitor reactions to the concept and structure of the exhibit.
Newark Museum, Newark NJ: This museum offers a Maker Space after-school program for a group of Newark Public School students with the goal to introduce them to STEM career possibilities through hands-on projects. We provided consulting for an evaluation strategy and instruments to get student feedback at various times during a semester’s program.
Springfield Museums, George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, 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’ in November 2012, we designed visitor research (in-person interviews and online questionnaires) to define likely audiences and to investigate possible interpretive themes.
University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett RI: We continued work on a NOAA grant, “Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists.” In 2013, evaluation activities included a summative evaluation of the facilitated media program ‘The Unknown Ocean’ with general public audiences, completion of a pre-/post study of 4th and 7th grade school groups, an evaluation of the associated touch-screen kiosk, and focus groups to explore aquarium visitors’ reactions to a live broadcast component at the end of the facilitated media program. Conducted in collaboration with Mystic Aquarium and South Carolina Aquarium.
University of Wisconsin, Science On a Sphere, CMIS-SSEC, Madison WI: Ongoing work on a NOAA-funded project to provide updated datasets to all Science On a Sphere sites (science museums, etc.); 2012 work included an analysis of program presenters’ awareness and use of EarthNow blogs introducing datasets on various topics, and a presentation at the National Network Meeting hosted by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach CA.
Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake NY: Completed audience research for a Master Plan, including a review of 15 years of previous studies, an online survey of upstate NY current and potential visitors, and a concept development study conducted at multiple locations in the Adirondack Park to assess residents’ and visitors’ patterns of visiting interpretive/museum sites and their interest in and reactions to a variety of proposed exhibit concepts.
American Museum of Natural History, Creatures of Light, New York, NY: Summative evaluation of Creatures of Light, an exhibition about bioluminescence. Key issues included visitors’ use and reactions to an innovative installation of iPads along the path of the exhibition, awareness and reactions to the custom-created music in each section, and overall recognition of the storyline and interpretive design features.
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Dayton OH: Formative evaluation of an upcoming exhibition, Exoplanets, funded by NASA. Focusing on 9-13 year olds, we guided the staff in a study of two prototype components (with exhibit designer Display Dynamics, Inc.).
City University of New York, Research Foundation: Evaluation of the fluorescence exhibit in the Creatures of Light exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, based on Dr. David Gruber’s NSF-funded research on coral reefs. With a target audience of middle school students, this evaluation was designed to inform the development of a new website to teach about fluorescent proteins.
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme CT: Completion of the Community Audience Research Project, defining audience segments in terms of patterns of interest for this multi-faceted museum (art galleries, creative outdoor exhibits, and historic house which was the setting for an early 20th Century summer art colony that became the birth of American Impressionism).
History Colorado, Denver CO: : Following the opening of this new museum in April 2012, we conducted the first analysis of the visitor audiences, discovering that all their planning to make this a family-friendly experience is paying off (older adults and families with school-age children are the two primary audience segments). Additional information about visitors’ reactions to the exhibits and programs is informing decisions about management and future planning (with exhibit designer Andrew Merriell).
History Colorado, Denver A to Z, Denver CO: : Formative evaluation coaching for the Denver A to Z exhibit. Having decided on the concept for a Denver exhibit, exhibit developer Shannon Voirol wanted to explore public perceptions of Denver icons, and we created the “buy a friend a beer” study to do some interviewing for that purpose (with exhibit designer Andrew Merriell).
Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe NM:: 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, likely highlights, and perceptions of the historic-to-contemporary connections.
The Newark Museum, Newark NJ: We conducted a summative evaluation of Generation Fit – a science exhibition with numerous interactive components engaging visitors on two main themes: exercise and nutrition.
The Hermitage: Andrew Jackson’s Homestead, Nashville TN: Conducted member focus groups to launch the “Engaging Our Neighbors” project (funded by IMLS), seeking input for programming ideas that could attract local audiences to this nationally historic site.
History Colorado, Denver CO: Continuing audience research to inform the planning for this new museum that will open in April 2012, including a Potential Audiences Study of the Front Range; additional exhibit-related audience research such as storyline testing for a Phase 2 exhibition called ‘Living West’ about the changing natural environment of Colorado; as well as advising on other formative studies for Phase 1 exhibits.
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme CT: Data collection phase of the Community Audience Research Project, investigating the awareness and public image of this multi-faceted museum (art galleries, creative outdoor exhibits, and historic house which was the setting for an early 20th Century summer art colony that became the birth of American Impressionism).
Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans LA: Summative evaluation of “Living With Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond” – an NSF-funded permanent exhibition that chronicles the events of the storm in the context of New Orleans’ long history of resilience, and provides interactive science exhibits that explain what happened (on subjects including levee design, hurricane formation, disaster preparedness and wetlands).
Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, Poughkeepsie NY: Audience research and analysis for master planning, investigating current audiences and their perceptions of strengths and weaknesses, defining primary and secondary market areas, and applying information about audiences as creative options for expansion were created by the design team (Andrew Merriell & Associates, Tom Troller architect, Studio One landscape architects).
M.I.T. Museum, Cambridge MA: Two-season audience research and analysis to inform strategic and master planning, including defining audience composition, visitors’ use and perceptions of the current museum exhibits and interests in future experiences.
Ossabaw Island Foundation, Savannah GA: Audience research to inform master planning for this historic remote island, offering the history of early African American culture, with the intent of selecting programmatic initiatives to balance public interest with limited impact on the site.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas TX: Audience research during the design process for the largest gallery of this new museum, including storyline testing of the overall visitor experience of the innovative Life Then and Now exhibition (illustrating how knowledge of modern animals informs the interpretation of dinosaur fossils and other ancient history). (with Amaze Design)
Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford MA: Completed an Audience Research Plan summarizing and prioritizing key issues about visitor experiences and multiple audiences, designed to allow museum staff (collaborating with other campus resources) to conduct visitor research in an organized way.
University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett RI: Continue work on a NOAA grant, “Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists,” by testing the first prototype of this interpreter-led theater-audience program about ocean exploration. Conducted in collaboration with Mystic Aquarium and South Carolina Aquarium.
University of Wisconsin, CMIS-SSEC, Madison WI: Conduct front-end research for a NOAA-funded project to provide updated datasets to all Science On a Sphere sites (science museums, etc.), focusing on presenters’ needs and interests.
Brooklyn Navy Yard: Community testing about familiarity and interest in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, focusing on gallery titles.
Colorado Historical Society, Denver CO: Continuing audience research to inform exhibit planning including ‘front end’ research for an exhibition called Colorado Stories; storyline testing for an exhibition called Destination Colorado about an early pioneer town on the prairie; completed ‘front end’ study for Nature Matters (possible title: Loving Our Nature) about the changing natural environment of Colorado; and conducted focus groups with Latino museum goers.
Florence Griswold Museum, Olde Lyme CT: Preparation phase of work for community research about awareness and public image of this multi-faceted museum (art galleries, historic house & summer colony involved in the birth of American Impressionism, etc.).
International Polar Palooza (China and Australia): Evaluation of hi-def media auditorium presentations in several cities by panels of polar scientists describing their research projects and the relationship of polar conditions to the rest of the planet.
Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans LA: Final formative evaluation study for “Living With Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond” – four interactives about hurricane science. Also conducted remedial evaluation after the exhibition opened in late October.
University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett RI: Begin work on a NOAA grant, “Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists,” and develop a 3-year evaluation plan for a multimedia program about ocean exploration. Conducted a substantial baseline study about aquarium visitors’ perceptions of ocean exploration at Mystic Aquarium and South Carolina Aquarium. Also, evaluated the Nautilus Live program at Mystic Aquarium.
Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, Harrisburg PA: Second year of evaluating “Surgery Live,” a program for high school classes involving live broadcast of non-emergency surgery from a nearby teaching hospital.
Mokupapapa Discovery Center, Hilo HI: Implement the evaluation of visitor experience of exhibits at this NOAA site pertaining to the Papahanoumokuakea National Marine Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian island chain).
Association of African American Museums: Completion of a national survey of African American cultural organizations (museums, archives, other organizations with collections), yielding an analysis of organizational needs and characteristics, and a national directory.
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Ocean Springs MS: Front-end research for redesigning exhibits for an interpretive center that was damaged by hurricane Katrina; focus groups were conducted with local residents (including Spanish-speaking and people with disabilities), teachers, and tourists (in collaboration with the National Park Service and Amaze Design).
President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington DC: Summative evaluation of visitors’ experience with guided tours of the newly opened historic house, conducted for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Texas State History Museum, Austin TX: Completion of planning studies (front-end and formative) for a new exhibition, Forgotten Gateway, about immigration to Texas through Galveston in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR: Jeff Hayward was hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Culture, Education, Science & Technology and by the Japanese Museum Management Association, in March 2008, to give keynote speeches at two symposiums and meet with directors and senior staff at several museums, talking about audience research and evaluation. The symposiums were generously sponsored by the Tokyo National Museum and the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum. A special issue of Cultivate, a quarterly professional journal produced by the Institute of Cultural Environments, was published based on the symposium at the Tokyo National Museum.
Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plains MA: Audience analysis to determine who uses this large free urban arboretum, and how their patterns of use and interests could inform a master plan for interpretation and educational programs.
Balboa Arts Conservation Center, San Diego CA: An evaluation of Field Service workshops for the Western Region (staff of museums, archives, libraries, etc. involved in object /art /document conservation), assessing follow-up impacts and implementation of professional practices.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver CO: Formative study for the new Health Sciences exhibition; visitors interacted with mock-ups of numerous exhibit components and gave their opinions; in collaboration with Jeff Kennedy Associates.
The Esplanade Association, Boston MA: A ‘park user’ study of the Esplanade, a prominent 3-mile stretch of linear parkland along the Charles River, using census counts and exit interviews and behavioral mapping to determine who uses the park, what people do there, and their opinions about possible improvements, among other issues.
Exploratorium, San Francisco CA: Bay Area community survey, using telephone interviews, to assess the image of the Exploratorium among visitors and non-visitors, and to explore people’s reactions to a proposed move to a new location downtown.
Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown NY: Analysis of visitors to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, in the third year of a large site-specific installation of pumpkin art with a rapidly expanding attendance; using entrance interviews, two versions of a follow-up web-linked survey, and follow-up telephone interviews with non-responders.
Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans LA: Audience research to inform the development of a new Master Plan that may involve extensive changes in the subject matter and exhibitions at the five museums, using focus groups with local audiences and community interviews with locals and tourists.
Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans LA: First phase of formative evaluation for an exhibition about hurricane Katrina, using Storyline Testing to assess people’s expectations, interests, and likely reactions to the sequence and content of exhibit messages.
New Mexico Museum of Nature & Science, Albuquerque, NM: Front-end research for an exhibition about the Triassic period to explore visitors’ knowledge of that era and their interests in various themes and ways of presenting information.
Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge MA: Three studies to inform strategic planning: focus groups with members, a thorough on-site analysis of visitors, and a Southern New England area phone survey to assess people’s image of this site including their awareness, interests, and factors affecting their intentions to visit.
Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC: A series of formative studies for an exhibition about human origins (What Does It Mean To Be Human, scheduled to open in late 2009); visitors responded to preliminary design plans and mock-ups of the exhibits; including the sensitive issue of how to present the relationship between humans and other primates.
Timmy’s Town Center: Community research to investigate families’ interest in this proposed children’s museum, including issues about types of experiences desired and perceptions of a range of potential locations.
African Burial Ground, New York City: ‘Front-end’ research for exhibits in an interpretive center (multi-site intercept interviews in New York City, and focus groups); collaborating with Amaze Design for the National Park Service.
Bell Museum of Natural History, Minneapolis MN: Community research to inform the concept planning for an expanded and relocated museum, exploring the public’s perceptions of art, nature and science; collaborating with Andrew Merriell & Associates, exhibit designer.
Boston Children’s Museum: Boston Black Inside Out: Program evaluation of visitor participation in multicultural programming and its impact on black visitors’ perceptions of the Museum, also including evaluation of diversity training workshops for Museum staff (National Endowment for the Humanities grant).
Children’s Museum of Southeast Connecticut, Niantic CT: Market analysis to explore the public’s awareness and use of the museum as well as perceptions of a possible change in location (subcontract to Anne Butterfield Company)
Connecticut Science Center, Hartford CT: Audience research for exhibit planning and consulting about visitor experience issues on selected galleries for this new museum (under construction); collaborating with Jeff Kennedy Associates and Thinc Design
Lincoln Cottage, Washington DC: Storyline testing to analyze visitors’ likely reactions to the proposed tour of President Lincoln’s summer residence, conducted for the National Trust for Historic Preservation (National Endowment for the Humanities grant)
Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans: ‘Front-end’ research for an exhibition about Hurricane Katrina and its impacts on New Orleans, using intercept interviews in three states and focus groups of local residents
Maryland Science Center, Baltimore MD: Begin formative evaluation for Science on a Sphere, investigating the use and value of add-on computer kiosks; also, outline a process of collaboration with a similar project with the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe NM: Dream On: Beds from Asia to Europe, Summative evaluation of this temporary exhibition – a first about beds and cultural variation (sleeping high, sleeping low, sleeping on the move).
Northeastern University, Boston MA: Program evaluation of pilot family programs for the PASTEL project – using science content at arts venues (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Symphony, collaborating with the Museum of Science and the Physics Department at Northeastern University); National Science Foundation planning grant.
Owens Thomas House, Savannah GA: ‘Front end’ visitor research for the Reinterpretation Project, which will reshape the content of the tour of this house to include interpreting the African slave quarters and a perspective that emphasizes whites and blacks together in the household (National Endowment for the Humanities planning grant).
Whitaker Center for the Arts & Sciences, Harrisburg PA: Audience research for master planning, addressing issues about the composition of the audience, use/interest in temporary exhibitions, defined space and experiences for preschool children, and logistical issues, with Roto Studio, master planners
Conferences: AAM, APGA, ASTC, Arts Reach: Sessions and presentations by Jeff Hayward included:
“Designers, Creativity and Evaluation” at American Association of Museums /Boston (co-chairs: Jeff Hayward and Veronica Jackson, Jackson Design Group),
“Defining Your Public Image, to Frame the Challenges in Connecting Audience Development with Your Mission and Operation” at American Association of Museums /Boston;
“The Uses and Benefits of Audience Research” at American Public Gardens Association /San Francisco;
“Did the World Around Us achieve its Big Ideas?” at Association of Science and Technology Centers /Louisville KY;
“Using Evaluation to Help Guide Environmental Messages in a Science Exhibition,” at Association of Science and Technology Centers /Louisville KY;
“Audience Research Extends Your Mission and Informs Your Work on Identity,” luncheon speaker at Arts Reach /New York City;
“Are You Ready for Audience Research?” at Arts Reach: National Arts Marketing Conference /New York City