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Connecticut Cultural Consumers. Connecticut Humanities Council Connecticut Landmarks Research by Reach Advisors. The Research. 􀂃Connecticut Cultural Consumers survey -n=4,450 from 24 CT cultural institutions -Review of CT demographic and macroeconomic indicators

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Connecticut cultural consumers l.jpg

Connecticut Cultural Consumers

Connecticut Humanities Council

Connecticut Landmarks

Research by Reach Advisors


The research l.jpg
The Research

􀂃Connecticut Cultural Consumers survey

-n=4,450 from 24 CT cultural institutions

-Review of CT demographic and macroeconomic indicators

􀂃Field-wide visitors surveys

-2007 Association of Children’s Museums (n>5,000 from 33 US museums)

-2008 outdoor history (n>5,000 from 13 US museums)

-2008 Association of Science-Technology Centers (n>14,000 respondents)

􀂃Consumer research / demographic analysis

-Spring ‘08 lifestyle survey (n=2,275 adults in 20s and 30s)

-10,000s households for client work


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The Big Questions ?

􀂃Who is the cultural consumer in CT?

􀂃What are Museum Advocates, and why are they important?

􀂃What are their interpretation preferences?

􀂃What is the role of historic house museums?


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Why They Visit

􀂃53% immersion in history, art

􀂃53% curious, love to learn

􀂃49% sense of place

􀂃30% important to community

􀂃29% authenticity

􀂃26% family learning


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Why They Join

􀂃62% support community organizations

􀂃58% improve programs/exhibits

􀂃50% support cultural organizations

􀂃25% pay for services received

􀂃17% saves money

􀂃6% because “I was asked”



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Interpretation Preferences -Topline

􀂃68% on own, with text panels/brochures

􀂃48% programs/events

􀂃45% guided tours

􀂃34% audio tours

􀂃29% hands-on activities

􀂃25% talking with staff

􀂃17% classes/workshops

􀂃9% videos/electronic media


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Historic House Museums


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Historic House Museum and Guided Tours

􀂃45% enjoy guided tours

􀂃7% sometimes enjoy guided tours

􀂃48% do not enjoy guided tours


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Historic House Museum and Guided Tours

While 49% of Museum Advocates enjoy guided tours . . .

. . . only 39% of Core Visitors enjoy them . . .

. . . do guided tours keep the general public away?


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Tours: A Polarizing Interpretation Method

􀂃Respondents feel:

-trapped, controlled, pressured …or stimulated

􀂃Other visitors are:

-annoying, distracting …or insightful

􀂃Guides are:

-monotonous, condescending, insipid, intimidating …

- or passionate, smart, articulate

􀂃Tours are:

-dumbed down, too structured, boring …or fun, enriching


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Why People Enjoy Tours

􀂃68% In-depth information

-“They provide the depth and scope that we'd miss on our own.”

-“Often provides information you didn't know to ask about.”

􀂃22% Interaction

-“You can't get questions answered from a sign.”

􀂃22% Personal touch

-“Guided tours bring the museum to life.”

-“There is nothing better than the excitement and personal connection that a dynamic guide can offer.”


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Why People Dislike Tours

􀂃55% prefer self-guided experiences

-“Part of the reason I go to museums is to explore by myself, as an antidote to structured activities.”

-“Maybe I want to go faster or slower”

-“If I don't need a guide to watch TV or go to a football game or to an art museum, why do I need a guide to see a historic house museum?”


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The Challenge of Guided Tours

􀂃 13% cite uneven quality of guides

-“Most do not seem like they enjoy what they are doing.”

-“The pedantic and self-satisfied style of most tour guides is a real turn-off.”

-“Usually canned monologues”

􀂃11% say too crowded

-“Feel like a sheep being herded from one room to the next.”

-“Too short to see over the heads of basketball players.”


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If they could do anything, what would they do?

􀂃29% closer proximity to/touch artifacts

􀂃15% eat and drink

􀂃14% hands-on activities

􀂃13% attend/host parties

􀂃10% extended stay

􀂃9% behind the scenes

􀂃9% respite


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What They Would Love to do Instead –Women Over 50

􀂃Experience site at a slower pace

  • -“Browse.”

  • -“Tour very slowly and enjoyably without noise!!!”

    􀂃Passive communion with surroundings

  • -“Sit in a comfortable arm chair, drink in hand, and immerse myself in art work of particular interest.”

    -“Sit down and become part of the house. Sink into the lives lived there in the past.”


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The Challenges

􀂃Audiences at art, history museums skew older (50+), female

􀂃Engagement of moms

􀂃Creating more Museum Advocates

􀂃Dissatisfaction with guided tours


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Historic House Museums

􀂃Create other options for access

􀂃Incorporate hands-on elements

􀂃Expand opportunities for closer interactions

􀂃Present layers of detail

􀂃Show nooks and crannies

􀂃Encourage communion with past

􀂃Facilitate social experiences


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Museums Have It

􀂃Places of:

-Thoughtfulness: “A great place to learn and have fun”

-Wonder: “I have experiences I don't expect”

-Inspiration: “They expand my thinking”

-Connection: “Priceless memory shared between family/friends”

-Solace: “I forget the real world for a while”

-Community: “They are the foundations of modern life, society”


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