Understanding Audiences: The Popularity of Museum Galleries

Image by Joel Knight, courtesy of Horniman Museum & Gardens
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NatSCA are pleased to present the findings of an Arts Council England funded study into the audiences of mixed discipline museums. This independent study was undertaken by Jenesys Associates Ltd. in 10 museums across the UK during the summer of 2013.

This work was intended to explore the experiences of different audiences in different galleries of mixed discipline museums, in order to understand their preferences and the reasons behind them. We hope that this information will allow us to better understand how natural science galleries are perceived by the public and to allow other Subject Specialist Networks and museums to gain an insight into their audiences.

Visitors identified natural sciences, art and live animal galleries as their favourite types of exhibit and described art, natural sciences and local history as their least favourite gallery types. The fact that some of the same galleries appear on both the most and least favourite lists suggests that audiences are highly heterogeneous in their tastes.

The breakdown of audience profiles further demonstrates that different galleries appeal to different demographics, with each offering something of value to a particular user group. Furthermore, qualitative feedback from users provided additional insight into reasons for preferences or lack of interest, ranging from the subject matter to the quality of presentation.

The full report runs to 48 pages, but an executive summary of the findings is provided at the beginning.

Download the full PDF

You can also find a PDF press release about the report here.