I've been thinking a lot about community lately, in a very personal way.
My family is about to move cross-country. As we prepare to depart Quincy (just outside Boston), I've been thinking long and hard about what tied me to this community over the past ten years, and questioning how deep my roots actually are.
And as we searched for our new home, there were some things that I found myself deliberately seeking in a neighborhood, and other things that didn't matter to me. Will those things I sought help me to actively develop roots in my new community in Seattle? What makes me value those things in the first place?
I am the type of person who thinks about these questions rather deliberately. How do people's preferences for a community, and their engagement in a community, relate to who they are, what they do, and their values? Are there any patterns between their preferences and values and museum visitation? Why or why not?
As a field, we have talked about all of these things. Community. Lifelong learning. Museum visitation and audiences. They have been the themes of our conferences. Countless articles have been written. We've tied them together in theory, sought connections in our work practice, and aspired to effect change in our communities or with our audiences. My questions are not new. Putting them together into a national sample of the broader population, however, will give us an opportunity to better understand the context in which our questions lie. That's important.
I also believe that the findings of this initial phase of research should be shared with the field, and that the next phase should be developed with your input. So once the survey closes, and analysis begins, I'll be sharing findings here on The Data Museum as well as my Facebook page and Twitter feed. These findings are for you to discuss, question, and use. Share with me what issues they raise for you. What new ideas come out of them. Your feedback will help make the next round of research even stronger.
Oh, and one last thing. The survey also includes a ringer of a question. More soon!