Museum-goers. They go to museums. Regularly.
These are the folks who make a habit of visiting museums and who respond to museum surveys. They like us.
But does visiting museums regularly mean being a member? Or even a donor?
Here, it is as straightforward as it is complicated. That is, it breaks down evenly, as you can see in the graphic:
Yet these three groups of people present more complex reasons for why they are, or are not, members or donors.
Of course we all have questions about how we can move those that do not give at all into membership tracks, and how we can cultivate a greater intrinsic motivation to learn among transactional families. I am thinking about that as well, and as more of my analysis unfolds over the next several weeks/months, I hope to have some answers (and likely a lot more questions).
The 2017 Annual Survey of Museum-Goers was fielded in January/February 2017. 25 museums across the country participated, with n = 6,162; half of respondents came from children's museums and science centers, half from art or history museums. The questions for this survey were inspired by ongoing conversations within the museum field (who visits museums, why they visit, what do they value about museums, and what motivates them) and ongoing research in the fields of education and psychology around lifelong learning and intrinsic motivation.
If you would like your museum to participate in the 2018 Annual of Survey of Museum-Goers, enrollment is now open!
This may seem depressing at first, but museums do a lot better than colleges/universities and hospitals on this question.
"Charity" simply isn't a word that people tend to associate with museums. While museums may legally be considered charities, I suspect the broader population defines "charity" much more narrowly.
But it does make me want to understand how certain words may make sense to the broader population, and others create dissonance, when thinking of "museums." Especially when thinking about museums and their impact.
A quick data tidbit from my recent studies. Far more to come!
I respectfully acknowledge that I live and work on the traditional lands of the Duwamish people. I thank them for the care of this land, and I endeavor to help museums bring forward a more complete and inclusive history and culture in their work.