Day 1: Non-Visitors/Missing Visitors

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Part II: Explorations in Practice (Simultaneous Break-Out-Sessions)

Attracting LGBTQ+ audiences – Dan Vo

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

Dan Vo shares some of the early research conducted by the Queer Heritage and Collections Network in the UK, launched in 2020, and already boasts a membership across four nations and regions of 75 members, from independent and local authority collections to national museums. Dan Vo presents some of the challenges that face organisations working on programming linked to LGBTQ+ history and key learnings collated from discussions with members.

Dan Vo is project manager of the Queer Heritage and Collections Network, supported by Art Fund and National Heritage Lottery Fund. As a freelance museum professional, he specialises in LGBTQ+ history and audience engagement. Recent clients include the V&A, Tate Britain and National Museum Wales, among others. He is a trustee of Culture 24 and London International Festival of Theatre and sits on steering groups for Historic England, Pitt Rivers Museum, Imperial War Museum and Queer Britain.

Understanding the reasons why some people visit museums and why others do not in the Emirate of Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates – Mona Al Ali

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

Taking off from the publication “Rethinking Visitors Studies for the United Arab Emirates: Sharjah Museums as Case Study”, published in 2016, this session examines Western theories about visitors and whether they are applicable to the cultural context of Sharjah or not. Mona Al Ali explores and discusses the psychological and external factors that influence a person’s decision whether or not to visit a museum and considers ways to encourage repeat visitation.

Mona Al Ali is the manager of the Badiri Education and Development Academy. She received a Doctorate of Philosophy from University of Leicester, a Master’s degree in Education from Auckland University and has completed international professional programmes in independent curatorship and museum studies. Previous to her role in Badiri, she was an assistant professor and programme manager at the University of Sharjah. Her publications and lectures concern UAE women as drivers of art in UAE, the history of museums in UAE, the impacts of social change in museum development, museums and identity, and strategies to attract visitors to museums.

Designing experiences in museum exhibitions and programmes that are accessible and inclusive – Sheri Levinsky-Raskin

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

The dialogue in this virtual conversation is informed by case studies from experiences that directly reflect on the involvement of members of the disability community, advocates, and accessibility professionals in planning, training, and implementation. Session participants reflect on the shared examples, can share their own ideas, and leave with insights for what worked, lessons learned, new opportunities for their organisations, as well as practical applications, guidance, and resources.

Sheri Levinsky-Raskin is the founder and president of SJLR Solutions LLC, a museum consulting company located in New York City. She has published on topics of accessibility, inclusion, out-of-school time programmes, and evaluation approaches and practices, and has presented nationally at more than 30 professional conferences and webinars. She has worked in museums for 25 years and now more broadly shares her talents, expertise, and energy with non-profits, schools, and cultural, science, and history organisations.

Museum Koenig mobil – Inge Steinmetz

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

Museum Koenig mobil addresses people with and without disabilities from pre-school upwards who have never been to the museum. Starting in spring 2022, a mini bus will be on the road around Bonn, filled with exhibits as well as many materials to try out and experiment with. The approach is learning through self-guided exploration, guided by tutors answering questions. Schools can also book the bus for special programmes. Hands-on work and discovery will be encouraged to find answers to questions such as: Which species live in the local surroundings? How can microscopic structures made be visible? What shows are on in the museum and how are exhibits prepared? What is the current scientific research going on at the museum? How easy is participation in “Citizen Science”?

Inge Steinmetz has worked in Berlin and Bonn, Germany, as a free-lance biologist in education programmes in primary schools, schools, universities and nature reserves since 2004. Focusing on sustainable development, she also developed excursion programmes and advanced trainings for teaching staff. A member of the education team at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig since 2020, she manages the “Museum Koenig mobil” programme.

On a mission to create advocates for the planet: engaging and involving the widest possible audience – Désirée Vaccarini

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

The Natural History Museum (London) is at a pivotal moment in its history. With a new strategy responding to the planetary emergency, engaging and involving the widest possible audience is critical to its mission to “create advocates for the planet”. However, we know that not everyone has access to or is connected to nature or the Museum. How can we ensure that we reach and include non-visitors and under-represented audiences, building long-lasting relationships with nature and the Museum? The talk presents an overview of how the Museum is using audience research to tackle this question from the outset of its redevelopment work.

Désirée Vaccarini is a Senior Audience Researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. Her interests and work span a wide range of topics, from optimising the visitor experience in public programmes, to supporting the museum in understanding its diverse audiences, to researching the most innovative approaches to engage visitors with the science and narratives of the museum. Désirée is also Co-Chair of the Visitor Studies Group, a membership organisation dedicated to championing audience research in cultural and heritage organisations.

Marketing the National Natural History Museum – Arusha, Tanzania – Jawida Mansour and Aloyce Mwambwiga

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

Museums play an important role in promoting the tourism industry through their heritage assets and exhibitions. To survive and prosper in the changing global environment, museums must market their collections and sustain their visitations. Museums in Tanzania (and generally in most African countries) are among the least visited museums in the world. By taking the National Natural History Museum in Arusha as a case study, our work examines the needs, desires, interests and preferences of both domestic and international visitors and non-visitors which may affect their decision to visit the forementioned museum. The findings from this study were used to develop a strategic marketing plan and series of marketing strategies applicable to the National Museums of Tanzania to consequently increase visitation, profitability and improve the provided services.

Jawida Mansour is an online adjunct instructor at the University of the People, California, USA. She is a heritage manager and researcher based in Palestine, holds an MA in heritage management from the University of Kent and Athens University of Economics and Business in 2017, MSc. in cultural anthropology and development studies from KU Leuven in 2019, and a BSc. in architectural engineering from Birzeit University. Her research interests include cultural heritage and development, human security, ecotourism, and craftivism. She currently works on a research project titled ‚Family livelihoods and wellbeing in the context of settler-colonialism: the case of tobacco production in Palestine.

Aloyce Mwambwiga is a PhD candidate at the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary, Canada. His research interest is on the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) in understanding and classifying lithics: focusing on plant residue plotting and analysis to aid in the identification of their probable functions dating about 1.8 million years ago from Oldupai Gorge, Tanzania. He holds a MA. Heritage Management from the University of Kent, in 2017, and BA in History and Archaeology from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He also works as a curator of the National Natural History Museum of Tanzania.

What does audience engagement look like at a national museum? – Barbara Stauffer

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

Specifically, what does it mean to bring in new audiences when your museum is free and open to everyone? How do you reconcile breadth of attendance with depth of experience? This session focuses on community engagement at the National Museum of Natural History through the lens of two programmes: one for youth that are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, and another designed to engage Latino/x families. How do we communicate with and recruit from populations that don‘t typically visit the museum? How do we justify programmes that require an investment of time and resources to reach just a few hundred participants at a museum that receives five million visitors a year? How do we assess impact? The session uses successes and challenges of these programmes to extrapolate lessons learned that are applicable to other museums.

Barbara Stauffer is a historian and geographer by training and is Chief of Community Programmes in the Office of Education and Outreach at the Smithonian’s National Museum of Natural History. She has also worked in exhibitions, public engagement strategy and adult, family, school, youth and community science programming for local area audiences. Particularly interested in seeking out partnerships, developing engagement platforms, she designs community events that creatively and effectively engage diverse audiences with the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, research and overall mission.

Reconceptualization of the participatory format “DSM-Werft” – Jana Marks and Birte Stüve

Break-Out-Session ‘Explorations in Practice’

The German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven accompanies its exhibitions and programmes with multi-perspectival audience research. One of its tools is the “persona” method, which goes beyond the description of typical museum visitors and also focuses on non-, almost- and lost visitors. In this session, Jana Marks and Birte Stüve take a look at different personas and discuss how they can help museums develop a strategy for non-visitor research and target previously unreached groups of people.

Jana Marks is researcher in the field of visitor studies at the German Maritime Museum, Leibniz Institute of Maritime History, specialized in visitor survey and exhibit evaluation. In addition to exploring the behaviour and reception of visitors in exhibitions, she also asks why people might not come to museums.

Birte Stüve is Head of Education at the German Maritime Museum – Leibniz Institute of Maritime History, where she specialises in strategic planning and experiential learning. Audience-focused programmes and participation play a central role in how maritime issues can be experienced.