The Annual Survey of Museum-Goers: Information for Research Participants
Thanks so much for taking time to help one of your favorite museums! Here is some additional information about the study.
Every year, the American Alliance of Museums and Wilkening Consulting host the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers. This research project has two primary goals:
- Allows museums across the country to field high-quality research to better understand the values, attitudes, and beliefs of their visitors … at a low cost to them;
- Field national research on museum-goers, to allow for rigorous analysis that benefits the entire museum field.
How Participating Museums Benefit
A "participating" museum is one that has paid a small fee in order to field the survey to their visitors and/or members, and in return receive reports specific to their museum. This allows individual museums to better understand their visitors and their values, attitudes, and beliefs, so that they can be more effective in sharing content with visitors.
You may want to participate in this survey because your answers will help the museum that invited you to take the survey (either a local museum or a museum that you have a connection with that is further away). Additionally, your responses will also contribute to the national sample, allowing rigorous analysis that benefits participating museums direction as well as non-participating museums across the country.
Timing of the Study
The primary period of data collection is January 1 - March 15 of each year. Museums can, however, participate later in the year; for this reason, the survey doesn't officially "close" until late fall.
Funding Source for Study
Participating museums pay a modest fee to field the study among their visitors. These fees, in total, pay for the study.
You were asked to participate by a museum that communicates with you regularly, likely via email or social media. This museum may be a local museum, a museum whose mission you care about, or a museum you are a member of.
Since any museum can choose to participate, you may receive more than one invitation to take the survey. If this happens, we encourage you to take the survey from the museum you care the most about; if you feel strongly about more than one museum, however, you may take the survey a second time (this won't affect the national results).
The average respondent will take about 9 minutes to complete the survey; you may take more or less time depending on how much you share in open-ended questions.
Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary, and no question is required. You can stop taking the survey at any time.
All respondents who choose to opt-in to the prize drawing will be eligible to win one of at least 10 $100 Visa gift cards; we will ask for an email address in order to notify winners. Note: not all museums participate in the prize drawing due to their own policies or local laws; respondents may or may not be offered the opportunity to opt-in to the prize drawing for this reason.
Respondents will also be given the option to opt-in to additional research on behalf of museums. If chosen to participate in this research, respondents may be emailed an invitation up to a maximum of two times. That invitation will describe what the research study is and the voluntary nature of the study.
We care deeply about your privacy, and when research findings are shared no identifying information is provided. Your results will remain confidential to the staff of Wilkening Consulting. The only identifying information we ask is email, and that is on an opt-in/voluntary basis. Your email address will only be used to contact you if you are a prize winner (see note above) or if you opt-in to additional research on museums. Your email address will not be sold or traded, and will be retained for a maximum of two years; at that time, any Personal Data will be deleted. You can find more about data privacy here. This survey is intended for people 18 and older.
Participating museums receive reports with their results aggregated and/or anonymized. Email addresses of participants are not shared outside Wilkening Consulting except to award prizes (e.g., a prize winner would receive a gift card via email from Visa). When we share results with the museum field nationally, no identifying information is shared.
The aggregate research results add to the research library of the American Alliance of Museums and Wilkening Consulting. This research library is used to help museums across the country make more effective decisions about how they share content with visitors and serve their communities.
Infographic Data Stories are shared with the museum field at museumgoers.aam-us.org/data-stories/.
Researchers and Your Questions About This Study
The lead researcher of this study is Susie Wilkening, the founder and principal of Wilkening Consulting. She is assisted by Jessica Strube. If you have any questions or thoughts about this research project, you can reach us by using the contact form here.
To Start the Survey
Please click on the link in the communication you received from one of the participating museums. Each museum has their own custom link, and using that link will ensure your responses are included in the report for that museum.
Wilkening Consulting is an audience research firm based in Seattle, Washington. Most research conducted by Wilkening Consulting is on behalf of the museum field, though related fields may sometimes retain Wilkening Consulting.
Updated December 27, 2021