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We ❤ Feedback

September 26, 2013

Lately we’ve been talking within our department about what it means to be an educator at the DMA. While we’ve come up with an array of responses, what continues to emerge as a priority to us is service and responsiveness to our audiences. It’s very important to us that the educational programs and material we create are meaningful to you, our visitors.

We are so serious about making sure that what we do meets the needs of our audiences that earlier this year we welcomed a new evaluator, Stefanie, to our staff. She conducts visitor research and evaluations focused on visitor engagement here and at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

We understand that sometimes we try something (a program or an activity) and it needs tweaking. That’s where you come in! We truly appreciate your feedback about things happening here at the DMA. Here are a few examples of how you impacted our work:

  • In 2009, a suggestion from one museum visitor prompted us to start the Autism Awareness Family Celebrations.
  • Two years ago summer campers requested a fashion camp. So, last year, we added a fashion camp to our list of summer offerings. Our campers obviously like fashion because last year, fashion camp participants and their parents asked for another camp about fashion for younger campers. This past summer we hosted two fashion camps, one for 6-8 year olds and another for 9-12 year olds.
  • From 2009-2011, we had the great opportunity to work with twenty classroom teachers (grades 4-12) on the creation of new online teaching materials.  Messages that they communicated to us through focus-group sessions and classroom observations revealed that our previous teaching material online “packets” were outdated and poorly organized.  Through evaluation and collaborative work, we re-envisioned the DMA’s online resources in an a la carte presentation, flexibly interconnected to one another by themes and comparisons.  Each work of art was realized with more information, great images, activity ideas, and resources.
  • Get excited for our upcoming Art To Go Bags! We tested prototypes for a year with families – both families who visit frequently and families visiting for the first time. We tested various bags, making changes—such as the number and types of activities and the clarity of instructions—based on evaluations from both adults and children.
  • We used surveymonkey.com to poll C3 Adult visitors about their experience in the workshops. In addition to these surveys, we had a meeting with a group of regular adult attendees to solicit honest feedback about the education they are receiving through the workshops, the educators, and the artists. We concluded that visitors value the experience of art making and conceptualizing more than the final product, and they desired that all the programs be connected in some way so that they can have a greater understanding of an idea. This has led to thematic programming month to month. They also asked for times in the month where they can experiment with materials or finish projects, which led to the design of the Open Studio class for adults.

  • In a gallery near the end of The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece exhibition, we offered visitors a variety of activities that encouraged them to think about beauty as a complex concept. We timed and tracked some visitors to see what they liked the most: very few visitors sat down to read books, but many read or contributed to the response wall.  So, for an upcoming exhibition on the artist Edward Hopper, we will offer a drawing activity in the gallery, as opposed to reading spaces.
Stefanie's evaluation notes of the Body Beautiful space

Stefanie’s evaluation notes of visitors moving through The Body Beautiful interactive space

So, we want to hear from you! What do you want to read more of on our blog? We invite you to click on your favorite blog topics in the poll on the right sidebar, and we will do our very best to respond accordingly. If you have an idea for a topic we don’t currently write about, type it in the poll box before you submit. And if you have any other brilliant ideas or commentary, send them our way!

Andrea V. Severin
Interpretation Specialist

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