In the past, readers have told us that they view the National Museum of American History as a trusted source of information and that they value accuracy in the information we present about our collections. But there are many ways to deliver information to people who visit the museum beyond just posting labels on a wall.
In the recent book Life Stages of the Museum Visitor, authors Susie Wilkening and James Chung present useful data about museum audiences from a marketing-research perspective. One part that especially caught my attention reported the results of a survey about how visitors to one set of museums preferred to experience the past. In their words, “We all like different types of experiences when we visit museums. Some people like audio tours. Some people hate them. Some people want lots of interaction with staff, others want to be left alone.”
It made me curious about how potential visitors to our museum would answer the same question. The interest is more than academic—as we design new exhibitions and programs, knowing what our audience wants helps us make better decisions and provide more meaningful experiences. And so, we invite you take the survey below to let us know what kinds of experiences you would enjoy during a visit to our museum. Answering the optional demographic questions will enable us to learn even more about how to serve various segments of our audience.
If you have additional thoughts, please share them in the comments!
Matthew MacArthur is Director of New Media at the National Museum of American History.