Words of Praise

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center hired PPDR to head a study and evaluation of a major landscape-based project. The intention was to design the Center’s urban parklike setting into 1) an inviting place for the surrounding community, and 2) to make it a model place for accessibility and access in turn far exceeding ADA requirements. It was a project with a very large scope that reached across a number of discipline areas. The team at PPDR, and the leadership of Jeff Hayward, brought the most incredible balance of data management, administration and organization, people and relationship management skills, wayfinding best practice, architecture, and human psychology in the built environment. What resulted is the most profound report, built on community input and discussion, that will drive future planning at Stowe for years to come. It was the right first step in a multi-year NEH and government bond funded project. I would hire this team all over again in a moment, and look forward to the next phase of our work together.
– Amy Hufnagel, Director of Programs & Visitor Experience, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

The Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) had a positive experience working with the team from People, Places, and Design Research (PPDR) on a year-long evaluation of SEMC’s inaugural Leadership Institute. The inclusive approach to communication between PPDR, SEMC staff, and the Leadership Institute Faculty and Cohort created an important element of trust in the process and confidence in the outcomes and final report.
– Zinnia Willits,  Executive Director of the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC)

I have to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the findings of your report! This is great information and it supports some of the changes we are considering from the original idea. The report was easy to read, the flow makes sense and terminology is on track with our committee work. So yay!
– Tina Wilson, Director of Education, Desert Botanical Garden

I have had the pleasure of working with People, Places & Design Research over the course of virtually my entire career while serving as director of five different institutions. Jeff Hayward and his colleagues have consistently helped me and my staff understand our audiences by asking the right questions in the right way. I would never dream of undertaking a major exhibition or other interpretive project without People, Places & Design Research on my team.
– David M. Kahn, Executive Director, Adirondack Experience

Last week we had a meeting with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation about funding for AAAM (the Association of African American Museums). Here’s what they said about your Needs Assessment:  “We’ve been over it several times” … “It’s full of good information” … “It is a remarkable piece of research.” It’s typical of comments I often hear about your work.
– Anne Butterfield, Anne Butterfield Company (museum planning and development consulting)

The Museum of International Folk Art has worked with People, Places & Design Research for over 20 years on a wide variety of projects. We have used their evaluation processes to gain funding through major federal grants, and to refine the scope of our exhibitions, two of which have won Awards of Excellence from AAM. Over several projects, our work with PPDR has greatly helped us to identify audience expectations, interests and needs – and to use that information to plan successful visitor experiences.
– Aurelia Gomez, Deputy Director, Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe NM

I have worked with Jeff Hayward and his team on a number of evaluation projects during the past fifteen years and have found their work to be consistently of high quality and high value. Jeff is a distinguished leader in audience evaluation in the museum field and for good reason – he understands what attracts and interests museum audiences well. More importantly, he seeks to understand the questions his clients have about their audiences and creates evaluation strategies that uniquely address these questions. Two qualities stand out. First, Jeff is interested in crafting audience research that is targeted to the needs of a specific project and answers questions unique to each client. For the Kenai Fjords project in Alaska, he and his team helped us understand the degree to which visitors comprehend scale and complexity of natural systems in the Park. For the African Burial Ground Visitor Center in NYC, this meant helping us to understand the hurdles we faced in attracting non-African American visitors to the site. The second quality that stands out is Jeff’s professional and collaborative style. He and his colleagues are team players and they are very flexible in dealing with unexpected issues when they arise. At no time have we ever had to worry about the quality of their work, or the ability of the work to be completed in the time agreed.
 Andrew Anway, Amaze Design, Inc., Boston MA

Thanks again for working so hard to get the survey results compiled for the NAME Board Meeting last week. It made a big impression and there was a lot of information to digest. The Board was very excited about it. It’s been great working with you!
– Valerie King, Marketing Committee Chair, NAME: National Association of Museum Exhibitors

As an exhibit planner, I’m extremely impressed with PPDR’s visitor research: it’s always useful, helpful, and full of insights. From the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Desert Botanical Garden, I’ve seen PPDR’s thoughtful approach help teams solve problems creatively, time after time.
– Judy Rand, Rand & Associates

Boston Children’s Museum has worked with PPDR on many evaluation projects over a period spanning decades. We particularly appreciate the way they shape their evaluation tools to provide full information on what the client is specifically researching while also revealing surprising or unexpected findings. We have found PPDR to be highly collaborative and conscientious. They have extensive experience in working in diverse and very busy museum environments, and are skilled at observing and interviewing young and older children as well as adults. In the end they deliver very high quality reports that are useful in informing further decision making and also serve to make the case for the stakeholders.
– Leslie Swartz, Senior Vice President for Research and Program Planning, Boston Children’s Museum

It was a pleasure working with PPD Research on multiple studies focusing on residents’ and visitors’ experiences on the Freedom Trail. Jeff Hayward and his team made the process seamless and enjoyable, from identifying our research needs to producing and interpreting the reports.
– Suzanne Taylor, Executive Director, Freedom Trail Foundation, Boston MA

Thank you for the excellent work you did in Denver. All were impressed with your work and we have often referred to your analysis as we complete the design.
– Jeff Kennedy, Museum Planning & Exhibition Design