This large-scale evaluation of lecture attendees was developed to gather information about audience motivation, expectations, exhibition interaction, and frequency of lecture attendance. It followed upon a pilot study involving focus groups and surveys of audience members conducted in May and June 2007. For this evaluation, we selected lecture programs that represented a diversity in program format, topic, speaker, coverage of the Museum's collection areas, and anticipated audience. In addition to surveys and interviews completed at the lectures, survey subjects were asked to participate in a post-lecture online survey to further define audience motivations for attending lectures and visiting the exhibitions discussed in those lectures.

Download the evaluation report:
Lecture Programs Evaluation (5pp., 145KB)

Findings:


  • A large percentage of visitors attending lectures are frequent visitors, who are very familiar with the Museum.
  • Presenting a diversity of lecture topics, approaches, and speakers successfully attracts new and infrequent visitors to a lecture program.
  • Panel discussions are valued formats because they present a diversity of expertise and opinion, and serve a diverse audience. Panel discussions also have a greater chance of serving the distinct needs of both the new and the frequent attendee.
  • Strategic audience research to determine who is coming to the Museum, who is not, and why, will be crucial as the Museum continues to expand its service to the community.
  • Diversity in the lecture program's format, speakers, and forms (or venues) of advertisement can help attract and serve multiple audiences, such as university students, community organizations, and other specific groups.