Hello! I am Patti Saraniero, an independent evaluator based in San Diego, California, specializing in evaluation in the arts and culture sector. Like a lot of folks, I have spent time in the last year cleaning out drawers and closets. One of my cleaning bursts led me to revisit video data from an evaluation project in 2015!
For the last seven years, I have worked with the New Children’s Museum, a contemporary art museum that serves children and their families in the San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico region. In 2015 we conducted an evaluation of a then-new exhibition, The Wonder Sound. To better understand children’s experience in the exhibition, we asked visitors ages 12 and younger to wear Go-Pros as they climbed, crawled, and explored the exhibition space. As I peeked back to the pre-pandemic busyness of the museum, the video was breathtaking and hard to watch at the same time.
Like many museums in California, The New Children’s Museum has been closed to the public since March 2020. Before and during the pandemic, the museum has worked hard to support resilience, which is, simply put, the ability to recover from setbacks or trauma. As communities begin to reopen and recover from the covid-19 pandemic, children will also need places to recover.
Lessons To Be Learned:
- Megan Dickerson, the museum’s Director of Exhibits, and I have started a conversation about what resilience in children could look like when they visit the museum as it reopens. We have turned back to The Wonder Sound evaluation, reexamining our findings and discussing what they offer the museum today.
- We recognize that the 2015 video data is from a very different context, an important consideration when revisiting and reanalyzing data. But it reminds us of what was as we think about what will be.
- Drawing on this data set, Megan and I will spend this winter putting together a tool to help us better understand how the museum’s exhibitions support children’s resilience and play. It is our hope that through this work we can develop greater insight into the role museums can play in supporting children and their families.
- There is a significant body of scholarship around resilience. I was struck by Skinner and Pitzer’s article about ‘everyday resilience,’ where children face and bounce back from everyday challenges.
- Wästerfors, Åkerström, and Jacobsson’s chapter, “Reanalysis of Qualitative Data” offers a thoughtful guide to revisiting and re-analyzing qualitative data.
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