Data Stories

Data Stories from 2019-2021 are available as downloadable PDFs. 2022 Data Stories will be added as they become available.

2022 Data Stories

Museum Visitation: Frequency and incidence gaps

Who is visiting museums and what demographic factors play a role? You might be surprised by what we learned in 2022.

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Museum Visitation: Recovery trends from the pandemic

The pandemic upended museum visitation, and patterns continue to shift. Read more as we navigate our “new normal.”

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Purpose and Methodology (Update)

When fielding audience research, we are looking for three types of information. Learn more about the purpose and methodology of this research.

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2021 Data Stories

Curiosity, Compassion, Community: The Traits of Inclusive People

What traits and values are more inclusive people likely to have? If we cultivate those traits more broadly, will we increase inclusive attitudes more broadly?

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Virtual Audiences Part 2

Virtual engagement during the pandemic helped museums
deliver content to about half of frequent museum-goers. That means that while virtual content worked for many museum-goers, it didn’t work for everyone. Why not?

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Purpose & Methodology

Each year, we receive great questions about the methodology behind the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers. Learn more in this year’s data story covering purpose and methodology.

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Spring 2021 Update

Spring, with its changeable weather, is also bringing changeable emotions as we pass the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. Optimism is increasing as vaccinations expand dramatically. But worries continue to lurk for many.

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The Spectrum of Inclusive Attitudes Methodology

For museums to be most effective in sharing inclusive content, it is critical that we understand our audiences’ perspectives on inclusion. Who supports it, rejects it, or isn’t thinking about it?

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Virtual Audiences Part 1

Many museums pivoted quickly to virtual content as a way to continue to engage museum audiences. If museums had to be closed, and people were spending a lot more time at home, it seemed like a good idea.

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Museum Visitation Rates & Demographics

It’s easy to make assumptions about who visits museums. But some of those assumptions don’t turn out to be totally true when we look at casual museum visitors.

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Vaccinations and Re-entry

As vaccinations roll out across the United States, individual comfort levels for visiting museums will continue to shift and change. Indeed, we saw these shifts even over the past several weeks in our research.

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Community Concerns and the Pandemic

Our communities matter to us, and understanding those concerns, as well as how museums, culture, and learning contribute, helps us to consider how we can serve our communities more effectively.

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Museum Visitation Pre- and Mid-Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated museum visitation and, as the pandemic has progressed, some museum-goers have returned to visiting museums, while others have continued to pull back. 

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Masking: May 2021

As masking requirements lift across states and communities, and the CDC shared that it no longer recommends masking for the vaccinated, many museums have been left with a quandary: do we continue to require masks … or not?

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COVID Winter

As winter sets in, worries have expanded while, at the same time, many of us feel like we are living our lives on repeat. This data story highlights current concerns for museum-goers.

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2020 Data Stories

The Purpose of Learning

Museums are about learning, but while most people agree that learning should deepen knowledge in areas one is already interested in, there is less agreement about learning as a way to expand worldviews and perspectives.

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Museums & Neutrality: Taking Positions in a Polarized Society

We asked how audiences really felt about neutrality. The overall results showed that a majority of museum-goers did think museums can take a position…though largely with limits.

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Worldviews, Clusters, & Intuitive Epistemology: An Introduction

Everyone is different. We all know that. And that extends to our visitors. Each one comes in with their own values, attitudes, and belief that affect how they engage with museum content.

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Curiosity: A Primer

The more we examine curiosity, the more important it appears to be, not only to individuals but to society. Research consistently shows that curious people have improved practice life outcomes, self-actualization, and prosocial outcomes. Why?

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Museum-Goers and Accessibility

We all want our museums to be inviting places. Places that everyone can find comfortable and easy to visit. That means accessibility is important. We asked museum-goers what kinds of access and support their families could use at museums.

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Methodology Primer: Bias

Bias. It is something that all researchers have to grapples with and it’s unavoidable. When we field audience research, understanding and acknowledging bias is incredibly important. Let’s explore two major ways bias affects this work.

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2020 Data Stories – COVID-19 Audience Research

Communities and Our Post-Pandemic Future

If museums are going to serve audiences effectively while also helping their communities rebuild, we need to start planning now to address those needs.

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Relevancy in a Tumultuous 2020

2020 has been a year of historic pandemic, economic devastation, and civil and racial unrest. And all of us are grappling with the changes these three things are causing in our communities. 

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Respite and Museums

As more people struggle to cope emotionally and mentally with the pandemic, places of respite are increasingly important. To learn more, we asked a direct question about respite this fall and we received some pushback.

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Virtual Content

When the pandemic started, many museums suddenly pivoted to providing virtual content. Now that we are several months into this pandemic, we checked in with our Pandemic Panelists to see how well that content was working for them.

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Autumn 2020 Update

7 months into this pandemic, with no immediate end in sight, has many museum-goers feeling we are on a never-ending rollercoaster of challenges and stressors. They are looking ahead to colder weather with dread.

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Summer 2020 Update

Last spring, we fielded a “Pandemic Panel” to assess how museum-goers were grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. As summer began to unfold, we reopened the panel to see how they were doing as the country opens up and cases surge. 

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Broader Population Concerns for Museums

While the seriousness of the COVID-19  pandemic was beginning to sink in, we wanted to assess how concerned or not the public was about the survival of museums.

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When Will Audiences Be Ready to Return to Museums?

When will audiences be ready to return to museums and what will help them feel safe and comfortable? Museum-goers responses ranged widely, though most fell in a cautious middle.

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Hope and Healing

As we enter May, museum-goers are looking ahead to even more time at home, as well as mixed feelings about the reopening of our communities. There is a sense that many are reaching an emotional low point.

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Do Audiences Want Virtual Content from Museums?

Do audiences want virtual content from museums? During this pandemic, yes! But what people would love to see, and how they find, varies quite a bit.

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Museums are Struggling Financially. Do people know?

Museums are struggling financially, but do people know, and will they support us? The answer is, unfortunately, grim.

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How Are Museum-Goers Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

How are museum-goers responding to the pandemic? A lot like we all are. They are worried about their families, livelihoods, communities, and humanity.

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Participant stories

Browse the stories of those who have participated in the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers and learn how they applied the data in practice.

Data cuts and current participants

When five or more museums of the same type or location sign up for the survey, you receive even more benchmarking data. See current data cuts.

Ready to sign up?

Complete the form to sign up or get in touch with Wilkening Consulting for more information.