Thursday, May 08, 2008

Getting public response to redevelopment plans

This from Marian Steinberg, TMAG: Thanks for your earlier help. I'd send this directly to your blog, but can't figure out how! The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery are going to be putting on a small exhibition of the approved master plan for TMAG's redevelopment project. We're planning to use this as an opportunity to involve our visitors and get some feedback from them at the same time. We have in mind a very brief questionnaire (perhaps both using a computer and offering a paper version for those not comfortable with computers). The focus will be twofold: how they reacted to the Master Plan (and the physical model) and what they would like to explore at the new TMAG. Has anyone out there done anything similar?

Hi Marian and sorry it's hard to post to the blog. By sending me an email as you did I can turn it into a blog post for you – all part of the service! Now to your question. We did a small exhibition of our Master Plan about 18 months ago and left a couple of lovely big art books for visitors to use to make their responses. What we found was that they did wonderful drawings of their museum experience (which was fine) and very minimal comments (apart from some staff grunts). The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto did a similar study for their redevelopment and used comment cards in a small exhibition about their future plans. Images are below – they said it worked really well for them (this was pre-internet of course – they may do it differently now, who knows?). Other methods I know of that have worked well is using post-it notes placed directly onto the plans which is a good way to help visitors engage with the plans plus each other. You can collect them at the end or during the day to see what themes are coming out. I don't know that computers are the best way to go – they are hard to arrange and only appeal to a few – sometimes old fashioned pen and paper is the answer! I also re-purposed (J) a nice technique from the Leicester University study of school students and museums, it was merely a large bubble on a page asking visitors to draw their response to an exhbition. Maybe you could have something like that but with the prompting question – what would the TMAG of the future look like? Also, why don't you use your 159 TMAG Facebook group members? You might be able to get comments that way? This paper from the folks at the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation can help point the way.

Good luck Marian and keep us posted of developments.

ROM feedback room
ROM feedback comment cards
ROM feedback room plans and text
ROM feedback room - plans

African Impressions exhibition feedback form

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