Monday, February 23, 2009

Evaluating School Visits

This from Kwangsun Ahn, South Korea: I am working on my PhD dissertation. The topic is on the museum education evaluation system –evaluating school visits to historical museums (national and municipal museums of Korea). It would be an honour if you could suggest some guidelines. I am planning to read your dissertation and other research papers. How can I obtain a copy of your dissertation? If there is an online program please let me know. And also if you can give me a list of other research documents I should read, I would greatly appreciate it.

Hi Kwang and thanks for your query (and my sincere apologies for the time it has taken me to get back to you...). The best paper to start for this is by Janette Griffin (2004) "Research on Students and Museums: Looking More Closely at the Students in School Groups", in Science Education, 88(Supplement 1), S60-S70. Janette's 1998 thesis School-Museum Integrated Learning Experiences in Science: A Learning Journey also has a comprehensive bibliography and an interesting approach to school visits. I'm a bit behind in that literature I must say but there were some recent articles in Curator I remember seeing last year sometime.

Another good resource is David Anderson at University of British Columbia.

As to my thesis I have published it online on my Audience Research wiki.

Good luck, maybe other people may be able to respond with more up-to-date stuff.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Audience Research 2.0

As most of you know, I have been thinking lots about how the tools of the web will impact on audience research practices. I'm using Web 2.0 apps in several audience research experiments, with my overall premise being that these tools will fundamentally change the dynamic between visitors and museums and we need to re-think how we do evaluation - less focus on methodology and more on participation.

This is what will make museums relevant in my view - a move from visitor as participant to visitor as partner, being able to have their own say and share their own stories, both at physical sites and online (which will eventually converge).

To this end we are running another project using an exhibition development blog and Facebook group for the All About Evil exhibition. This project aims to:
* engage the audience in developing the exhibition at the front-end
* see if a blogging tool can do this
* see how we could use Facebook to engage a different audience
* track the time it takes for our input compared with the outcome

We'll keep you posted. I'll be blogging most of our progress here on Museum 3.0.