Ignite the Power of Art: Advancing Visitor Engagement in Museums

How do visitors like to experience art? What makes for an enriching museum visit? The Dallas Museum of Art undertook a groundbreaking seven-year research initiative to answer these questions, examining how people connect with art and identifying preferences and differing behaviors.

Ignite the Power of Art publishes these findings and provides a new understanding of museum visitors. It describes how these studies have been used to build attendance, enhance exhibits, and develop new programs such as the Center for Creative Connections, the online Arts Network, and the Late Nights event series, all at the Dallas Museum of Art. Furthermore, the book describes how this research, which goes far beyond traditional demographic data and analyses, has transformed the Museum, unleashing a profound change in institutional thinking and paving the way for sustained innovation. Also included are interviews with community leaders who offer their perspectives and insights on the Dallas Museum of Art’s remarkable revitalization.

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Framework for Engaging with Art (FEA) is based on a groundbreaking, seven-year study that provides understanding of the preferences and behaviors of museum visitors. The study and its findings led to fundamental changes in all aspects of the DMA’s practices and programs.

The research draws on five studies conducted between 2003 and 2009 by the Dallas Museum of Art and the museum planning, evaluation, and research firm Randi Korn & Associates, Inc. (RK&A). Probing beyond traditional demographic studies, the research encompassed a series of qualitative questions about how visitors prefer to engage with art in the museum setting and their comfort levels in looking at and talking about art. The research identified four related, yet distinct, “visitor clusters” or types based on these preferences—thereby enabling museums to understand their audiences and better shape their offerings to address varying visitor interests and needs.

Learn more about Framework for Engaging with Art (FEA)

By Bonnie Pitman (Author), Ellen Hirzy (Author)

Softcover, 238 pages
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