Partner Peter Linett and senior associate for museums Sarah Lee will be in Houston next month for the American Association of Museums annual meeting. Linett will chair a session on engaging visitors behind the scenes at museums, and Lee will chair a session on integrating the different types of audience research that museums do.
Linett’s session, entitled All Hands on Deck: Getting Visitors Involved in the Work of the Museum, will explore how museums can harness their visitors’ collective skills and intelligence, not only to make exhibitions and programs more participatory but also to help carry out the museum’s scientific, historical, aesthetic, or environmental work. Linett and three panelists representing the Smithsonian, NASA, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will discuss how crowdsourcing and “citizen science” are entering the museum world and what the future holds. They’ll also offer sneak peeks at three state-of-the-art informal science facilities currently on the drawing boards. Linett’s session will take place on Wednesday, May 25th from 9:00 to 10:15am.
Lee will lead a conversation, entitled Seeing Visitors in 3D: The Power of Integrating Museum Evaluation and Market Research, about the ways that museums create vivid, evolving, and shared pictures of their visitors by combining market research with exhibit or program evaluation. Panelists come from three very different museum clients of ours – the Chicago History Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the John G. Shedd Aquarium – and will discuss the benefits and challenges of this approach to bridging organizational silos and sparking public engagement. Lee’s session will happen on Sunday, May 22nd from 4:15 to 5:30pm. Lee will also be speaking on a panel about museum studies programs and their role in moving the profession toward social change, Museums and Museum Studies: Collaborations as Incubators for Social Change. Drawing in part on a planning study we did for a new Center for Art Museum Studies being developed at Case Western Reserve University, Lee will bring the audience’s perspective to the discussion about the benefits of collaboration between museums and museum studies programs.
“We love preparing for sessions like these,” Lee says, “because they give us the opportunity to consider the broader questions that arise in our daily work and to really think where the field is heading. And, on a personal note, I’m excited to visit the city that I called ‘home’ during my teenage years!”
Linett and Lee look forward to seeing old colleagues and meeting new ones at the annual meeting in Houston. If you’ll be attending, let us know. We’d love to say hello.