Building Family AudiencesRobbin DavisDirector of Visitor ServicesOklahoma History Centerrdavis@okhistory.orgJason HarrisDirector of EducationOklahoma History Centerjharris@okhistory.orgAmelia WigginsEducator for Familyand Studio ProgramsStark Museum of Artawiggins@starkmuseum.org
First Steps: developing a family audienceFinding Parents• Ask partner institutions to share contacts• Contact local homeschools, preschools, camps, mothers’ groups.• Talk to loyal patrons who are seniors – some may be grandparents!• Ask parents eager to get involved to spread the word!Advisory Group• Use an established group of parent visitors as a sounding board for new initiatives.• Meet at a pre-set time to do formal evaluation.• You can also ask them to model for PR photos!
First Steps: developing a family audienceFront-End Evaluation• Implement front-end evaluation to measure new initiatives, such as the Stark’s Family Guide.• Front-end evaluation will reveal problems you never considered.• USE the results! Don’t just sit on feedback.Building Family Advocates• Ask parents who visit the museum regularly about their experience – most will be happy to share.• Let them know you’re working to build new initiatives designed to serve families.• Ask them to spread the word among their contacts.• Email them, friend them on FB, keep in contact.• The ball will begin rolling as they spread news of the Museum’s family initiatives through word of mouth.
Getting the word out!Schools• Ask superintendents to approve flyers; most schools are happy to distribute them• Build relationships with teachers; they can become advocates.• Use existing school programs as an opportunity to introduce new family initatives, as well.Pre-Kindergarten groups• Offer hands-on tours designed for pre-K groupsScouts• Market educational family programs to scouts.• Ask local scout council leaders to distribute event flyers to their troops by email.
Getting the word out!Daycares and Preschool groups• MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers• Contact local church youth groups and children’s ministries• Send flyers to local daycares and ask them to distribute them. Offer them an educational tour of the museum for their class.Homeschool groups• Homeschoolers are some of our most loyal patrons – they are looking for local educational opportunities and will spread the word!• Homeschoolers have special interests & needs.Local camps and afterschool programs• Boys and Girls Club, Campfire
CollaborationWork with an institution with an established family audience.• Don’t need to reinvent the wheel – ask other organizations to share what has worked for them, and their contacts!• Partner with an outside institutions to broaden the audience of both.Design programs that bring in local artists, performers.• Stark Museum Family Days often feature local actors, musicians, or artists.• Building relationships with local performers will help you reach new audiences.• Collaborating with local artists is a way to grow your expertise, engage your audience, and enliven the collection.
Creating new family-focused programsFamily Days• In 2008, the Stark Museum offered its first Family Day. 4 years later, it is the museum’s largest event.• Family Days consistently bring in new audiences.• Family Days reach underrepresented demographics.• Presenting Family Days as an ongoing series, with new content each time, drives repeat attendance.• Stark Museum Family Days are built around a theme that links to the special exhibition.• A balance of entertainment and education: • Scavenger hunts encourage close observation to detail in the galleries. With prizes! • Hands-on art-making that can scale up or down for multiple ages. • Performances by artists/musicians/actors.. Live animals are also great! • Small activities throughout that can relieve the pressure of large crowds. • Refreshments! Snacks and juice boxes for hungry kids.
Creating new family-focused programsVacation Week Programs• Families are looking for things to do during school vacations; make sure you have something to offer on break weeks.Drop-In Days• The Stark Museum offers drop-in art days during winter breaks.• We use leftover supplies to provide hands-on activities in the lobby.• Staffed by docents.• This easy, low-cost program significantly boosted our December attendance last year. We recieved about 50 drop-in visitors each day it was offered.
Creating new family-focused programsSummer Camps• The Stark Museum started by partnering with Shangri La Botanical Garden to create joint art-and-science camps.• One session in 2009 grew into nine weeks of camps and classes in summer 2012.• Camps are a way to provide in-depth Museum experiences for children.Classes for Children• Art Quest was introduced in Spring 2011 as an art class over 2-3 mornings.• Serves younger children (1st grade+) through this half-day schedule.
Making your museum family-friendlyFamily Guide• The Stark Museum’s first family initiative was to write a Family Guide.• It was geared to grades 3-6.• It includes both facts about the art and questions to promote discussion.• Designed to be easily maintained within the changing galleries; can be added to.• 28% of Family Visitors report using it.• Many, especially younger children, use the colorful cards like a scavenger hunt and do not read the text – that’s ok.
Making your museum family-friendlyGallery Interactives &Hands-On Areas• The Stark designs a hands-on Education Area in every special exhibition.• Education Areas include children’s books, comfy places to sit, interactives such as art-making stations, touch objects, and educational text.• Education Areas are designed with families in mind, but are for visitors of all ages – not just children!
Making your museum family-friendlyIntegrating Hands-OnEducational ElementsThis summer, due to the positive feedback theStark Museum recieved from the introductionof Education Areas, we designed an exhibitthat integrated hands-on, interactive stationswith collection objects.“Explore Art: Materials and MethodsRevealed” offered visitors of all ages a chanceto make art while viewing art, touch artists’tools, and watch artists’ techniques in videos.In-depth evaluation, including visitor interviewsand observation, proved the success of thisapproach. * We hope to present the results at TAM 2013!
Making your museum family-friendlyTips for Family VisitorsThe Stark Museum offers tips for familyvisitors on our website and in a pamphlet.• We recommend quick visits of 20-60minutes, with a break at the park outside.• Read a story about museums first.• Review “museum manners.”• Use simple, open-ended questions todiscuss art with children.What do you see in this painting? How was this work of art made?• Try a game with the whole family.Pretend you are detectives searching for clues, or act out a scene in a painting.• With young children, play Seek & Find.Search for colors and shapes, or count the animals in the works of art.• Come back for Family Day!
Making your museum family-friendlyStrollers, baby changing stations, and more!• Details like baby changing stations, policies about food and bottle feeding, and encouraging strollers in the galleries will go a long way to make families feel comfortable and welcomed.• Unfortunately, a negative experience due to any of these elements can damage the museum’s reputation as a place for families.
Encouraging repeat family visitsEmail: Family event e-blasts• Collect the email addresses of family visitors!• Email is a quick and inexpensive way to connect with families and keep them informed about upcoming events, camp registration, etc.• 21% of Stark Museum Family Day visitors hear about the event through email.Develop a series of family events• If you liked this event, there’s more to come! Over time, families will look forward to the next Family Day or art class.• Scheduling events at the same times each year helps parents remember.
Encouraging repeat family visitsFacebook• More and more parents are on Facebook – ask them to follow the Museum’s page.• Ask other organizations’ pages, such as the local CVB, to share your events.• Solicit and respond to comments on Facebook.Posting photos• Post event photos online (Facebook or Flickr). Parents love seeing photos of their kids in the Museum, and it reminds them of their visit after it’s over.
Encouraging repeat family visitsBuilding lasting relationshipsKeep in touch with families personally.• Ask about them when you run into them at the grocery store.• When older children age out of programs, welcome younger siblings – or create a teen program!• Do outreach at community events, both as a way to promote the museum, and to keep in touch with local families and happenings.• Seize opportunities outside of work to ask about people’s families and introduce them to programs the museum offers for them.
ChallengesReaching underserved audiencesBarriers for minority and low-income families may include:• Less leisure time for museum visits, ormuseum hours that conflict with work hours• Access to transportation to/from museum• Unfamiliarity with the museum, sense ofunwelcomeness• Difficulty registering for camps, classes• Lack of access to computer, internet• Build ties with schools and community leaders who canhelp the museum connect with underserved groups .• Partner with an existing organization to bring in newaudiences.• Measure audience demographics to evaluate who you’rereaching.
ChallengesWorking with multiple age groups simultaneously• Build scalable activities that provide learning experiences for multiple ages and abilities (including parents & grandparents!)• Can a 3-year-old participate in some way?• Better yet, can a 3-year-old’s view change his sister’s or his grandfather’s perspective?• Encourage discussion with interpretive questions.• Relate content to the personal lives of visitors - of multiple generations.• Design activities that can be experienced simply in two minutes, or in an in-depth way in 60.• Design activities that are enhanced by group participation. Example: Robots from 3-D Family Day
Measuring impactCapturing visitor data• The Stark uses information cards to capture email and physical addresses for marketing.• We also ask event attendees to fill out ½ page surveys that include demographic questions.• For Family events, the Stark looks most closely at ages, first-time versus repeat visitation, and the schools visiting children attend, which in our county correlates highly to income level.• We summarize the data after every event, track our progress, and use the results to determine future outreach initiatives. Stark Museum summer camps are not reaching many students from our closest school district, so attracting these students is a goal for 2013.• The Stark also uses surveys to measure marketing impact.
Measuring impactEvaluating visitor engagement & learning: Breadth with Surveys• The Stark uses surveys to ask large numbers of people what they saw and learned at the Museum.• We ask visitors why they came and what their favorite part was. Typical responses include specific works of art and specific event activities, and broad ideas like finding inspiration and spending family time together. We are interested in both the specific content learned/seen, and also in how our visitors characterize their larger museum experience.• Stark Museum camps and youth art classes are measured with surveys that ask parents to describe the camps’ educational benefits.• Surveys administered to campers ask the students to describe what they learned in specific areas over the course of the week.
Measuring impactEvaluating visitor engagement & learning: Depth with Observation and Interviews• The Stark Museum measured visitor engagement in viewing and creating art at the February 2012 Family Day through visitor observation and interviews.• Visitors were timed and tracked by observers, who noted where and the number of times they stopped to look, comment, and gesture in the galleries.• Visitors were also timed in the art-making area, and evaluators noted visitors’ engagement in creating, collaboration within family groups, and evidence of invention and experimentation.• Visitors were asked to describe a work of art they saw in oral interviews.• Small sample (13 families), and time-consuming (12 staff hours), but renderd revealing, in-depth results.
Measuring impact Measuring objectives set in advance• Setting objectives in advance helps gather the educational team around common goals that further the institution’s mission.Family Day objective: Visitors are engaged in viewing and creating art.Summer camp objectives consist of specific content to be learned.• Priorities and decisions are determined by the objectives.Family Day activities are planned to encourage visitors of all ages tolook closely and to engage with art-making.• Create concrete, measurable indicators for each objective to evaluate success.What does success look like?Would a successful visit consist of 30 minutes in the galleries?Would success mean each member of the family participates in artmaking?
Measuring impactTracking attendance figures and audience demographics• Track attendance over time to measure program growth.• ( But it’s more than visitor counts – Can you also show depth of experience? )• Track who you are reaching, and what audiences are still underserved.• Share your data with Marketing, with museum leaders, in annual reports.• Use data to brainstorm new approaches and set new goals.
Goals of Family ProgrammingBuilding the Habit of museum visitorship in todays youth• Museum visitorship is a habit that often starts in childhood. Those who grow up in museums will feel comfortable visiting them as adults, and will take their children to them as parents.Promoting intergenerational informal learning• Museums offer families the unique experience to learn together in a safe environment that encourages discovery, experimentation, creativity.• Design Family Programs to promote intergenerational exchange.• An educational program that serves all age levels allows children to grow up within the Museum, fostering their development at every level.
Goals of Family ProgrammingEngaging parents (and grandparents!)• Museums can “hook” parents and grandparents who might otherwise not attend on their own, by offering programs for their families.• How do our Family Programs facilitate the learning, discovery, and experimentation of adult visitors?Making the museum a home away from home or “the third place”• Reaching out to new visitors and inviting them into the museum is the first step.• Building a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere where they are excited to return time and again is the goal.
Goals of Family ProgrammingDeveloping ties to the communityFamily Programs build ties between the Museum and the community:• By introducting new visitors to the Museum• By diversifying the Museum’s audience and inviting underserved populations in• By providing opportunities for collaboration with local organizations, schools, leaders, artists• By asking locals for their feedback and responding with programs designed to serve their needs and interests• By developing the next generation of museum visitors, who will advocate for their local museum as adults.
Questions? Comments? Conversation.Robbin DavisDirector of Visitor ServicesOklahoma History Centerrdavis@okhistory.orgJason HarrisDirector of EducationOklahoma History Centerjharris@okhistory.orgAmelia WigginsEducator for Familyand Studio ProgramsStark Museum of Artawiggins@starkmuseum.org