Empirical data supports the view that visitors spend little time at individual exhibit components (often a matter of a few seconds and seldom as much as one minute); seldom read labels; usually stop at less than half the components at an exhibit; are more likely to use trial-and-error methods at interactive exhibits than to read instructions; that children are more likely to engage with interactive exhibits than adults, and that attention to exhibits declines sharply after about half an hour.
Studies of 150 visitors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art found a mean time of less than 30 seconds viewing an object to be typical, with most spending significantly less time. Douglas Worts, former interpretive planner and audience researcher at the Art Gallery of Ontario and museologist, summarizes this behavior as “grazing” and theorizes that the pattern may arise from a mismatch in the goals of curators and visitors. It is relatively rare to watch a visitor spend more than a minute with any individual artwork.
A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another…Participatory culture is emerging as the culture absorbs and responds to the explosion of new media technologies that make it possible for average consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content in powerful new ways.
Designing for Engagement:Changing the Museum to BuildParticipation Robert Stein Deputy Director Dallas Museum of Art @rjstein
WHY DO MUSEUMSMATTER? Why is your community better off because it has a museum? The answer must necessarily be something more than, because otherwise it wouldn’t. Museums matter only to the extent that they are perceived to provide the communities they serve something of value beyond their own mere existence. Stephen Weil, Making Museums Matter Flickr Credit ~adforce1
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ARTFounded in 1903, the DMA’s collectionspans 5,000 years of human historyLocated in the largest arts district inNorth AmericaDallas is the 4th largest metro area inthe United States with over 6.5Mresidents
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ARTWhile 2,500 new people move toDallas each and every day…Attendance has hovered around500,000 for most of the last decade.With just over 500,000 visitors lastyear, we are reaching no more than7% of our community
According to a study by Indiana University, museums are considered a more reliable source of historical information than books, teachers, or even personal accounts by grandparents.TRUSTED
BUT NOT VITALThe 2010 U.S. census reports that only 14.5% of US Adults visitedmuseums in the prior 12 months (Census, 2012).
Studies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art found that most visitors spend much less than 30 seconds viewing works of art The study reports that rarly do visitors spend more than a minute with any individual artwork. GRAZING Spending Time on Art” by Jeffrey K. Smith and Lisa F. Smith in Empirical Studies of the Arts, Vol 19, Number 2, 2001. On the Brink of Irrelevance? Art Museums in Contemporary Society” by Douglas Worts, 2003.Flickr Credit ~Petereck
TIME FOR A CHANGE FREE ADMISSION FREE MEMBERSHIP
ARE YOU A MEMBER? PARTICIPATION IS THE NEW CURRENCY OF MEMBERSHIP
A CULTURE OFPARTICIPATION A participatory culture is one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another Jenkins, Henry. 2006. “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.”
Promoting participation andengagement with art
Badges are bundles ofactivities that are created byDMA staff.Badges are used to magnifyexisting visitor behavior andencourage new forms ofengagement
Points are awarded forcompleting badge activitiesDMA Friends can use theirpoints for a variety of rewards
For the first time, we canhave a stream of data aboutwhat visitors do inside themuseum, not just when theyshow up…
Social Media ListeningListen to the social webcomprehensivelyCredit Friends for onlineengagementUse high engagement as a“mirror” to the community
WHY DO MUSEUMSMATTER? “When you can slip into a gallery for just 15 minutes to see a favorite painting, or when parents can take their children without having to budget for it, the museum takes on a societal function. Its no longer just a fortress or an amusement: its a civic platform, where education and citizenship go hand in hand”. Jason Farago, The Gaurdian, London, 30 Nov, 2012
WHY DO MUSEUMSMATTER? “For Dallas, a museum membership should be like a library card: everyone should have one, and it should foster an engagement with the museum that goes beyond the occasional visit to a kind of civic pride”. “I hope it works. Because in a perpetually privatizing world, the kind of civic culture that the Dallas Museum of Art is trying to foster has become rarer than any antiquity”. Jason Farago, The Gaurdian, London, 30 Nov, 2012