We’re delighted to begin working with one of the leading urban history museums in the country, the Chicago History Museum. We will be conducting a formative evaluation for an upcoming exhibition about Chicago’s gay and lesbian past.
The exhibition will be a unique public exploration of new research into the stories and artifacts associated with Chicago’s LGBT community from the nineteenth century to the present. It is scheduled to open in May, 2011.
Our evaluation will take the form of audience panels, a qualitative research method in which the same individuals (potential visitors to the exhibition) attend discussions with museum staff at several points during the development of the exhibition.
“The panel approach is perfect here,“ says senior associate Sarah Lee, who will be leading the research process for Slover Linett. “The research participants become like partners of the museum as the exhibition is developed, so they can not only respond in nuanced ways to the ideas of the exhibition team but also contribute ideas of their own.”
Both LGBT and straight audiences will be involved in the study. Unlike focus group participants, who are usually observed from behind a one-way mirror, the panel members will interact directly with the curators and other members of the museum staff.
Slover Linett partner Peter Linett says he’s looking forward to being part of the Chicago History Museum’s interdisciplinary, team-based approach. “It’s a group of museum professionals who have developed a wonderfully collaborative way of working, which helps them take risks. Our job will be to help bring the audience into that collaboration in a new way, which we’re really excited about.”
Slover Linett’s research assistant, Catherine Jett, will also be involved in the research. A kickoff meeting for the evaluation is scheduled for early August.