Adventures in Evaluating Participatory Exhibits: An In-Depth Look at the Memory Jar Project

Museum 2.0

Two years ago, we mounted one of our most successful participatory exhibits ever at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History: Memory Jars. Two years later, this project is still one of the most fondly remembered participatory experiences at the museum--by visitors and staff. THE RESEARCH The challenge, of course, was to figure out how to evaluate the experience in a way that would help us identify the power of the project. A man walks into a museum. He shares a story.

The ongoing revolution in philanthropy: An open-ended reading list

Deborah Elizabeth Finn

Deciding Together Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking. Letting grantees lead: What we’re learning from the BUILD evaluation. Empowering Communities: Participatory Grantmakers Say We Must Go beyond Feedback. Evaluating a Culture.


Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

How grant makers and nonprofit grant recipients can do great things together with data and evaluation

Deborah Elizabeth Finn

It took Tech Networks of Networks almost two years to organize and implement a series of candid dialogues about data and evaluation for grantors and nonprofit grantees, and now it’s complete. Talking about and planning the evaluation process well before the grant begins.

Grant 52

Our Museum: Extraordinary Resources on How Museums and Galleries Become Participatory Places

Museum 2.0

Most participatory projects were short-term, siloed innovations, not institutional transformations. Extra credit if you read the Our Museum evaluation (or its summary ) as well. The evaluation additionally called out some faulty assumptions in program design about leadership and staff continuity throughout the multi-year process. evaluation institutional change participatory museumSix years ago, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation set out on an ambitious quest.

Trainer’s Notebook: Just A Few Participatory Facilitation Techniques

Beth Kanter

Evaluate your content, facilitation, and logistical skills against participant evaluations. If time is available, also do a plus/delta exercise with participants as a close out to the session. Measure, evaluate, reflect, and improve. I also had an opportunity to attend a couple of sessions that used participatory facilitation techniques. A more participatory approach, and one that Alan Gunn uses, is to crowdsource provocative questions from participants.

Quick Hit: Five Evaluation Reports on Participatory Projects

Museum 2.0

I want to share a few fabulous evaluation and research studies that have greatly informed my work (and specifically, the development of The Participatory Museum , which is going to the printer this weekend). The evaluation of the first Turkish Living Library , held in 2007 at the Rock for Peace festival in Istanbul. A paper on "Evaluating participatory, deliberative, and co-operative ways of working," put out by the InterAct group in England.

12 Ways We Made our Santa Cruz Collects Exhibition Participatory

Museum 2.0

This exhibition represents a few big shifts for us: We used a more participatory design process. Our previous big exhibition, All You Need is Love, was highly participatory for visitors but minimally participatory in the development process. Instead of a total budget of $200 for participatory elements, we spent about $4,000 on materials for participatory elements in this exhibition. Without further ado, here's what we did to make the exhibition participatory.

Adventures in Participatory Audience Engagement at the Henry Art Gallery

Museum 2.0

In 2009 , students built a participatory exhibit from scratch. Thirteen students produced three projects that layered participatory activities onto an exhibition of artwork from the permanent collection of the Henry Art Gallery. What I Learned Part 1: Facilitation is Powerful When I taught this class the first time, I put a real premium on the idea of designing participatory activities that were visitor-driven and required minimal or no facilitation.

The Participatory Museum Process Part 2: Participants' Experiences

Museum 2.0

This is the second in a four-part series about writing The Participatory Museum. Several hundred people contributed their opinions, stories, suggestions, and edits to The Participatory Museum as it was written. Many people wrote at length about their passion for participatory design and their desire to contribute to what they saw as an important resource that would "help advance the field." Tags: Book: The Participatory Museum

The Participatory Museum Process Part 1: Overview and Statistics

Museum 2.0

This is the first of a four-part series on the behind-the-scenes experience of writing The Participatory Museum. Overview: Stages of Development and Participation Types The Participatory Museum was written over a 15 month period that began in December of 2008. Improve the section on evaluation. Tags: Book: The Participatory Museum This week, we'll look at the overview of the process of the creation of the book and some overall statistics for user participation.

What Do You Need to Make the Argument for Participatory Design?

Museum 2.0

As many of you know, I’m writing a book about participatory design for museums. The book is intended to be a practical guide to participatory museum experiences focused on design strategies, case studies, and activities. I believe that demystifying participatory design and encouraging professionals to try it is the most important step towards its evolution as a museum practice. The WHY of participatory design is really important.

Adventures in Participatory Journalism: An Interview with Sarah Rich about 48 Hour Magazine

Museum 2.0

Oh, and they wanted it to be participatory. I talked with Sarah Rich , one of the project’s instigators and staff members, to learn more about 48 Hour Magazine and its implications for other participatory media projects. He set up an infrastructure for people to evaluate submissions by giving it a yes, no, or maybe, with comments. You made contribution to the magazine participatory.

ASKing about Art at the Brooklyn Museum: Interview with Shelley Bernstein and Sara Devine

Museum 2.0

We began with a series of internal meetings to evaluate our current visitor experience and set a goal for the project. design evaluation exhibition informatics institutional change interview Museums Engaging in 2.0 Projects participatory museum research Technology Tools Worth Checking Out visitorsI’ve always been inspired by the creative ways the Brooklyn Museum uses technology to connect visitors to museum content.

A Simple A/B Test for Visitor Talkback Stations

Museum 2.0

design evaluation Museum of Art and History participatory museum usercontent Let''s say you create a station where visitors contribute content. You want their stories, their feedback, their colorful drawings of the future. How do you measure success? We''ve started using a very simple measure: the number of people who actually respond to the prompt. We look at the visitor contributions, and we code them either as responding to the prompt or doing something unrelated.

Test 38

Guest Post: Using Visitor Participation to Improve Object Labels at the San Diego Natural History Museum

Museum 2.0

Last month, I learned about a fabulous, simple participatory experiment called “Case by Case” at the San Diego Museum of Natural History that uses visitor feedback to develop more effective object labels. To date, the solution has been to put photos on the walls, pray for funding, and ignore the front-end evaluation bit. evaluation exhibition participatory museum guestpost

The Spectator Spectrum: Who Do You Count as a Participant?

Museum 2.0

For me, Downward Draw provided an unusual opportunity to examine the more casual end of the participatory spectrum. For years, I've used Forrester Research's five social media user categories --creators, critics, collectors, joiners, and spectators--as a guide when thinking about how to design participatory experiences in physical space. evaluation participatory museumReady for a math problem? A museum holds a free program in a semi-public space.

Frameworks and Lessons from the Public Participation in Science Research Report

Museum 2.0

What does the word "participatory" mean to you? The various definitions of participatory projects can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. They provide detailed case studies of projects in each area, including project descriptions, informal science education goals, participant training techniques, and evaluation outcomes. What's more participatory, making art or doing research? One last thought on evaluation. Projects design participatory museum

Model 31

What are Your Engagement Goals?

Museum 2.0

This is a big year for us in naming and evaluating our work. In early 2014, we developed a set of five engagement goals: Relevant, Sustainable, Bridging, Participatory, Igniting. We use these goals to evaluate our current engagement strategies, assess new proposed strategies, and guide productive discussions about how to improve our work. Since we wrote these goals in the spring, we''ve started baking them into our work and program evaluation in different ways.

Goal 39

What the Museum Sell Out Game (Re)Taught Me about Participation Inequality

Museum 2.0

On platforms with many participatory options, more people are more active. I think this diversification is key to inviting broad audiences to feel meaningfully involved in participatory projects. design evaluation interactives web2.0Last week on this blog, I tried an experiment. I wanted to open up conversation about how we judge the relative ethics of various sources of museum revenue--all of which have moral grey areas.

Answers to the Ten Questions I am Most Often Asked

Museum 2.0

I've seen this line of questioning almost completely disappear in the past two years due to many research studies and reports on the value and rise of participation, but in 2006-7, social media and participatory culture was still seen as nascent (and possibly a passing fad). In 2008 and 2009, there were many conference sessions and and documents presenting participatory case studies, most notably Wendy Pollock and Kathy McLean's book Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions.

Advice: An Exhibition about Talking to Strangers

Museum 2.0

You can explore the project wiki where we coordinated the exhibit, including the project overview , our six-week plan to get it all done, and individual sections for development of concept , content , interaction , graphics , marketing , fabrication , installation , and evaluation. There is also a final evaluation report available for download, which offers lots of great quantitative and qualitative content about what visitors did in the exhibit.

Participation, Contemplation, and the Complexity of "And"

Museum 2.0

Our museum in Santa Cruz has been slammed by those who believe participatory experiences have gone too far. We always knew that the inclusion of participatory and community-centered practices in arts institutions was controversial. To me, the backlash against participatory and community-centered experiences is not surprising. I''ve always understood that participatory experiences are not for everyone. "The words we use in attempting to change museum directions matter.

Great reads from around the web on August 16th

Amy Sample Ward

" Monitoring and Evaluation NEWS » Most Significant Change (MSC) – "The most significant change (MSC) technique is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation. It is participatory because many project stakeholders are involved both in deciding the sorts of change to be recorded and in analysing the data. I come across so many great conversations, ideas, and resources all over the web every day.

Web 121

Yes, Audience Participation Can Have Significant Value

Museum 2.0

I can't say that any one experience--working on a collage with other visitors, swinging on a hammock, discovering a participatory display for pocket artifacts in the bathroom--directly contributed to increased attendance and giving. Our team focused this year on just three things: making the museum more comfortable, hosting new participatory events, and partnering wherever possible. Museum of Art and History institutional change participatory museum fundraising business models

Guest Post: Community and Civic Engagement in Museum Programs

Museum 2.0

Visitors bond and bridge through participatory experiences at MAH. Evaluation surveys showed that Book Arts Santa Cruz members felt their bonds were strengthened as they connected with members in a collaborative capacity that increased group dialogue and stimulated a sense of pride, identity and vision around their work as a group at this event. The value of participatory experiences is epitomized in FIGMENT , a free, creative, participatory, non-profit, community art event.

Groundswell Book Club Part 5: Embracing

Museum 2.0

How many educators scan program evaluations and cast off the suggestions for improvement as aberrant grumps who "just didn't get it?" How many exhibit evaluations happen after opening, with no significant money allotted to make changes that arise from research? Look at your standard program evaluation. Would it make a difference if our evaluations asked "What would you do if you were us?"

The 2016 - 2017 Best Nonprofit Conferences Calendar


The Digital Media and Learning Conference is meant to be an inclusive, international and annual gathering of scholars and practitioners in the field, focused on fostering interdisciplinary and participatory dialogue and linking theory, empirical study, policy, and practice. Impact Convergence 2016 brings together leaders, practitioners, and professionals from around the globe who are interested in impact and evaluation.

Engagement, Distraction, and the Puzzle of the Puzzle

Museum 2.0

An unnamed art museum once created an incredible interactive and participatory installation related to a temporary exhibition. This installation was a big hit by exhibition evaluation standards--high dwell time, high engagement, high satisfaction. Museum of Art and History exhibition institutional change participatory museum comfortNote: Thanks to Lisa Hochstein for allowing me to quote her emails in this post. She is a fabulous and thoughtful artist.

Adventures in Artist-Driven Public Engagement: Machine Project at the Hammer Museum

Museum 2.0

What happens when a formal art museum invites a group of collaborative, participatory artists to be in residence for a year? Several artists offer surprising insights into making participatory projects appealing to visitors. This is particularly true when it comes to project evaluation. I'm a bit troubled by the lack of rigor in the evaluation of the impact of all these projects--big and small.

Improving Family Exhibitions by Co-Creating with Children

Museum 2.0

Every once in a while I come across a project I wish I could have included in The Participatory Museum. While the exhibition report could certainly be more rigorous in terms of evaluation, I appreciated the focus not only on the children's experience but that of museum staff, school staff, and parents. Projects participatory museumit's a Secret! ,

Navigation by Recommendation: Lessons Learned from a Little Experiment

Museum 2.0

But a few people seemed nervous that we were trying to trick or evaluate them. Tags: design participatory museum usercontent How do you find your way around a multi-faceted museum? Do you interrogate the map? Create a plan for yourself? Get deliciously lost? I spent some time playing with this question last week at the Milwaukee Art Museum, a large general museum that is moving toward redesign of the permanent galleries.

Trainer’s Notebook: Using Dot Voting Online

Beth Kanter

When I facilitate meetings or workshops for nonprofits, not matter the topic, I incorporate many participatory approaches and design thinking methods. The technique helps you need to evaluate the ideas.

What Makes an Innovative Idea Actionable?

Museum 2.0

I'm working on a personal project (slowly) to open a cafe/bar venue that is also a design incubator for participatory exhibits. Tags: evaluation design Unusual Projects and Influences What do you do when you encounter a really great and unusual idea, one that you could implement but would require you to change some aspect of what you are currently doing? Do you jump in or do you shelve it? And what distinguishes the former from the latter?

How can nonprofits and funders create mutually agreeable performance measures?

ASU Lodestar Center

According to the Center for Evaluation Innovation’s “Lab for Learning” initiative , “make thinking visible” to cultivate a learning culture. Use participatory processes to define metrics and methods of data collection. Actively evaluate PM processes and metrics.

Everyone's Smithsonian: Video, Slides, and an Open Strategic Planning Process

Museum 2.0

Two weeks ago, I conducted a participatory exhibit design workshop with staff at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Every program, old and new, should be evaluated against the mission (and the business model) for soundness. future, you can also see the passion of different groups that feel underrepresented or unheard in the evaluation comments. I love that the new media team published these evaluations and responded to the individual comments.

Pointing at Exhibits, Part 2: No-Tech Social Networks

Museum 2.0

If we think about network effects not in terms of data collection but in terms of a useful outcome for visitors and institutions, we can design platforms that reflect our participatory values. What "no-tech" visitor actions or interrelations reflect your participatory goals? Design for participation in museums still struggles on the evaluative side--we don't have well-documented ways to measure how many people connect with a stranger or learn something from another visitor.

Design for Social Engagement: Pointing at Exhibits

Museum 2.0

This blog often analyzes how websites, designed spaces, even dogs promote participatory experiences among users. Today, we look inward for a how-to on one type of participatory design as applied to museum exhibits. Paul has suggested that this metric—pointing—may be a valuable evaluation measure of a particular kind of engagement. You don't need to start with participatory design shooting for the deep discussion among strangers. What makes an exhibit “social?”

Eight Other Ways to "Connect with Community"

Museum 2.0

Not all staff want to actively lead tours or programs, but if "connecting with community" is a core part of your mission, then all staff should have some aspect of their performance evaluation tied to making nice. Tags: participatory museum inclusion comfort Last month, the Christian Science Monitor published an article entitled, "Museums' new mantra: Connect with community."

2020: The Year that Changed Grantmaking

Connection Cafe

Grants management software (GMS) is the lifeblood of most foundations — providing tools for collecting, reviewing, and choosing grant proposals, and the data to evaluate their impact. 2020 will be remembered as the year that changed grantmaking.

Museum 2.0 Rerun: Answers to the Ten Questions I Am Most Commonly Asked

Museum 2.0

I''ve seen this line of questioning almost completely disappear in the past two years due to many research studies and reports on the value and rise of participation, but in 2006-7, social media and participatory culture was still seen as nascent (and possibly a passing fad). In 2008 and 2009, there were many conference sessions and and documents presenting participatory case studies, most notably Wendy Pollock and Kathy McLean''s book Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions.

New Models for Community Partnerships: Museums Hosting Meetups

Museum 2.0

Evaluate the outcome. Projects participatory museum I've long believed that museums have a special opportunity to support the community spirit of Web 2.0 as physical analogs to virtual community platforms. People who engage deeply in any online community, whether a bulletin board or social networking site, want to meet in person. Right now, they are primarily meeting in commercial spaces--restaurants and bars--which benefit from their business and their buzz.

Model 21

State Fairs and Visitor Co-Creation: An Interview about MN150

Museum 2.0

How are you evaluating the exhibition? Our plan is to have the summative evaluation done by the end of this year. Projects interview design participatory museum usercontent Traditional exhibition design, in which the museum has a specific story or message to tell, doesn't easily accommodate visitor co-creation. What can visitors add if you already know what you want to say?

Groundswell Book Club Part 1: Listening

Museum 2.0

Surveys, interviews, tracking studies, and exhibit evaluations are often isolated events, and the information gleaned is specific to particular projects. Tags: Book Discussion: Groundswell marketing participatory museum This week, we're covering the first objective in Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff's book Groundswell : listening (chapter 5). This is a long post focused on strategic uses of listening rather than specific techniques.

Teen 20