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Engaging the Audience

Page history last edited by Kate Haley Goldman 13 years, 8 months ago


Engaging the Audience: Understanding and Responding to our Visitors' Needs (Sponsored by the Metrics & Evaluation SIG)





As museums try out new technologies for education and interpretation, it is necessary to learn audience needs and preferences and respond to them. Visitor research is an important part of this strategy, and the findings can be used to inform the development of exhibitions and interpretation.


This session will describe strategies that museums are trying in order to respond to changing audience preferences and expectations both online and inhouse. The session will look at evaluations of mobile applications and online engagement strategies to bridge the physical and virtual environments.



Session Info

  • Type: Full Panel
  • Keywords: Evaluation, audience research, mobile, avatars
  • Relevance: The session will demonstrate how audience research findings can be incorporated into improving technology projects in order to engage the community on-site or online.




Emily Black, Assistant Editor for Digital Media, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

 Emily Black is the Assistant Educator for Digital Media at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. There she designs resources that fulfill the digital needs and interpretative strategies for featured exhibitions and permanent collection reinstallations. She led the research and development of the Nelson's mobile interpretive strategy and Mobile Guide web-based application tour. She also piloted the creation of the Nelson-Atkins upcoming multimedia rich platform titled Studio 33. She received her Master's degree in Art History with a graduate certificate in Museum Education from the University of North Texas. While attending University of North Texas, she was awarded the Priddy Fellowship in Arts Leadership. Prior to working at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Emily was a digital media intern at the Whitney Museum of American Art where she generated content for the Whitney's learning website, learning@whitney. Emily has a passion for providing unique online learning experiences that connect diverse audiences to art. She is interested in the questions and connections formed when the intersection of media-rich content and art is presented to an online or onsite visitor.


Sharisse Butler, Manager of Visitor Studies and Evaluation, Dallas Museum of Art

Sharisse Butler has worked in the education department of the Dallas Museum of Art for 7 years and is the Museum’s first Manager of Visitor Studies and Evaluation. She has a background both in ethnographic research and art history, and completed a Certificate of Evaluation Studies from The Evaluators’ Institute of George Washington University in January 2010. Through research and evaluation, she provides staff across departments with information about visitor experiences in order to help reach program and exhibition goals and improve the experiences of a wide range of audiences. Butler is committed to helping her colleagues articulate program goals and theories of change, and know how to best make use of evaluation findings. She is actively involved in evaluation and the development of interpretive materials in the Center for Creative Connections, an experimental learning environment that provides interactive encounters with works of art and artists. Butler has recently been working closely with curators and multimedia producers to increase understanding of the use and impact of smARTphone tours.


Kate Haley Goldman, Director of Learning Research and Evaluation, National Center for Interactive Learning

As a member of the Center's leadership team, Kate Haley Goldman directs the Center's internal research and evaluation and consults on external projects.  Prior to her work at NCIL, Kate spent over 10 years at the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), where she oversaw a broad portfolio of informal learning projects.  She has led projects both in the US and abroad, involving mobile phones, web sites, gaming, augmented and mixed reality, novel data visualization systems, and online learning. Recent projects at ILI include audience research for the Encyclopedia of Life, summative evaluation of the NSF-funded computer game WolfQuest, and program-level evaluation of NOAA’s Science on a Sphere.  Kate's current projects include the research on NSF's newly funded open-source project for small science centers and museums called Open Exhibits (openexhibits.org), evaluating the use of a NASA-fund mobile phone app with middle school students, and developing metrics for an NSF-funded Facebook Science game.  She is particularly interested in developing reliable and valid evaluation methodologies for online environments, social media, tech use in exhibitions, and deepening the theoretical knowledge base as it applies to these environments.




Moderator:  Sheila Carey, Canadian Heritage Information Network


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