Hey there. It’s me, Kathleen Tinworth—program chair for AEA’s Evaluating Arts & Culture TIG and Director of Visitor Research & Program Evaluation at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. I blog about the intersection of consumer trends and the visitor experience.
Rad Resource – expose.your.museum: There’s always something interesting going on in consumer trends. It’s our cultural stock market. If you watch closely, you see the future. I take the trend-spotting I do on a day-to-day basis (including websites like springwise, trendspotting, and trendhunter) and I apply it to what’s going on (or not) in museums and cultural institutions on expose.your.museum. I pose questions about how trends could be twisted, shaken, mixed, morphed, and mashed up into something really cool to enhance the visitor experience. It’s not just for those in the arts and culture sector though; there’s something applicable for any interface with customers or clients. Oh—and of course—I blog about evaluation! I take to the floor of my home museum and ask visitors about blog topics to get real-time data and keep the pulse of our audiences.
Hot Tips – favorite posts: A few of my favorite posts, mostly due to the fantastic comments and dialogue that transpired:
- Destination QR: Are websites and other technologies vehicles or destinations? As QR codes took off in a big way (found everywhere from beer cans to children’s toys), what uses (and misuses) exist for deepening learning experiences?
- Making it the VISITORS’ way– custom culturals: With the growth of “design-your-own,” there seemed no limit to the range and scope of customization. How is customization both uniquely personal and entirely social—and how do we encourage or squelch it?
- Cornershop Culturals: outside our walls and into theirs: Like many institutions in the public trust, connecting with audiences means demystifying our work and increasing transparency. What could “going public” look like for cultural institutions and how might we show what’s behind the glass?
Lessons Learned – why I blog: I blog because it’s a two-way conversation, a dialogue. I love that it’s cyclical and ongoing, building and growing over time. Traditional academic writing isn’t as conducive to that. Blogging is typically raw and full of errors, which is something else I love. It’s not always polished but it is real, relevant, and timely. It’s a way to not only provide resources out to your readers, but to learn alongside of them and through the process.
Lessons Learned: I learned to cut myself slack when it comes to how often I blog. I don’t stick to a regular schedule and I’m ok with that. Thanks to Scott Stratten (Unmarketing) for helping me let go of that.
This winter, we’re running a series highlighting evaluators who blog. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.