The museum, one of the largest art institutions in the country, has engaged us to help develop a new audience research approach that combines exhibition evaluation and market research. The integrated process will be developed in conjunction with an upcoming exhibition of pre-Incan art, which will serve as a “pilot project” for the new approach.
We look forward to working with the Cleveland Museum of Art’s curatorial, interpretation, education, and marketing departments, and with the museum’s recently-arrived audience research specialist, Elizabeth Bolander, to experiment with new ways of involving visitors in a dialogue about art, exhibitions, and their relationship with the museum.
The work will support the planning process for an exhibition of pre-Incan art slated for 2012–2013.
There has traditionally been a divide in the art museum world between revenue-oriented research and exhibition- or learning-oriented studies. On one side, marketing research was geared to maximizing exhibition attendance through better targeting and messaging to potential visitors. On the other side, exhibition evaluation was geared to ensuring that the exhibition communicated effectively to those who did attend, and that the learning objectives set by the exhibition team were being met.
The CMA team is moving beyond those traditional silos.
“We’re very excited about this,” says partner Peter Linett. “We’ve always conducted market research with an eye to the experiences people are having at the museum, and evaluations with an eye to how the exhibit furthers their relationship with the institution. Now, at Cleveland, we’re getting the opportunity to help this amazing museum develop a single, comprehensive picture of its audiences.”
Led by the firm’s senior associate for museums, Sarah Lee, Slover Linett will work closely with the CMA team to conduct qualitative and quantitative studies of potential visitors to the Wari exhibition. We will also facilitate creative working sessions with the museum team to develop the museum-wide, integrated research approach.
Our kickoff meeting will be in early July, and work will extend into 2011.
For more information, please contact Sarah Lee by email or by phone at (773) 348-9214.