Two teams of curators wanted to make their upcoming gallery reinstallations compelling and resonant for visitors. The museum’s interpretation and audience research staff asked Slover Linett to work with both curatorial teams over several years, to bring visitors’ and potential visitors’ voices into the conversation. We facilitated planning workshops with the museum team, then used ethnographic and game-like qualitative methods with visitors and recruited non-visitors in the galleries. Most importantly, we invited the curators to observe and participate in those studies, so they could hear directly from visitors and deepen their sense of how non-experts experience their collections—and would want to experience them. The resulting insights about storytelling, emotion, “wow moments,” and tone helped the curators set a new, innovative course for both reinstallations. We also evaluated one of the new galleries after it opened, to see how well both the curators’ goals and visitors’ own ideals were met in the updated experience.

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